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PIA Press Release
2006/10/31

Politicians suspected behind illegal logging in Davao Oriental

By Mai Gevera

Davao Oriental (31 October) -- After the Aliwagwag Bailey Bridge incident which paved the way for the discovery of illegal logging in the province, four criminal cases were immediately filed against owners of the vehicles used in the operation of the alleged illegal logging in the municipality of Cateel.

The campaign against illegal logging in the province came about through the joint effort of the Philippine National Police, the church, non-government officials, and local government units that have shown high degree of commitment in catching the people behind illegal logging operations.

Of the four cases, three are said to be operated by elected officials in the municipality and nearby towns. Four instant cases of violation of PD 705 or the Forestry Law were brought to the attention of the Provincial Prosecutor's Office.

Owners of the apprehended vehicles are found to be barangay captains and even board members of nearby municipalities. Identified owners of apprehended vehicles are Evelyn Rosit, wife of Boston mayor; Larry Aquilino, barangay captain of Caatihan, Boston; Camilo Nunez, Board Member; Edgardo Reyes, barangay captain of San Alfonso, Cateel; and Asterio Magdao, barangay captain of Malibago, Cateel.

Fr. Darwey Clark of the Cateel Parish admitted that some politicians in the said town are the ones behind illogging operations which makes it harder for the authorities to control the said activity.

However, with the recent action of Davao Oriental Governor Ma. Elena Palma Gil in strengthening the inter-agency Task Force against Illegal Logging, she ordered the authorities to apprehend operators of illegal logging in the province.

Tenth Infantry Division Commander Ernesto Boac bared that more operators of illegal logging will be apprehended with the intensified campaign of the inter-agency task force.

"There is now a check and balance in which one agency has the power to catch any irregularities made by another agency involved," Boac said.

He cited the recent accomplishment made through the joint efforts of the government agencies and private citizens in the province.

PNP Cateel reported nine trucks recovered and confiscated with 50 pieces of Dipterocarp logs, 137 pieces of Lauan, Mayapis, and Pine, 71.17 cubic meters of mixed Lauan, Mayapis, and Pine, and 56 pieces of mixed Falcata and Mayapis. All these were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. (PIA XI) [top]

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