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PIA Press Release

Gov't confiscates 1.4-M bd ft of illegal logs in Sierra Madre

San Mariano, Isabela (18 June) -- The continued operation on the confiscation of illegally cut down forest products in the Sierra Madre Natural Park has already resulted into the seizure of 1.4 million board feet as of to date.

Forester Gerry Cabacan, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Isabela, presented to the Regional Multi-sectoral Forest Protection Committee (RMFPC) the volumes of undocumented forest products that were confiscated by the joint operation of the Provincial Task Force on Illegal Logging, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine National Police and Philippine Army.

Cabacan disclosed that in the last quarter last year they have already confiscated about 513,000 bd ft. of illegally cut logs. In January to May 2009, the task force seized 105,00 bd feet and in the third operation, from May 30 to June 15, 2009, they recorded 872,400 bd ft of undocumented forest products, which has a total of 1.4 Million bd ft all in all.

In the report presented by the task force, four (4) individuals were identified as owners of the undocumented forest products namely Manolito Blando, Roberto Mingming, Aries Valencia and Edgar T. Go, who are believed to be the big fishes behind the illegal activities in the forest.

Cabacan said there were already filed cases against the identified owners of the illegal logs but there are still unidentified individuals involved.

"If we will calculate the value of these forest products into peso, we could accumulate more or less 20 million pesos and these are only a few of the actual illegally cut down forest products which we are going to confiscate in our continued operation," Cabacan said.

The forester said that majority of the logs are Tangile, Mahogany, Narra, Rattan and other common hard woods.

On the other hand, members of the task force revealed that they are receiving threats from unknown texters, but they assured not to give up until and unless the illegal loggers will stop from raping and destroying the environment.

The task force members also reveled that through the help of students and some individuals in the area, they were able to trace where the logs were piled.

Meanwhile, Forester Cabacan said they will wait for the court decision on how to dispose of the confiscated logs because they plan to sell it to the government beneficiaries or to qualified buyers and the funds to be accumulated will be allotted for forest protection activities and for the task force to utilize for their operations. (Ver/PIA 2) [top]

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