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PIA Press Release

There is retrieval plan for abandoned logs in Samar, DENR says

Tacloban City (February 20) -- There is a retrieval plan for the recovery of logs cut and abandoned twenty years ago by a logging firm which operated in Samar, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 8 informed.

The logs which are subject of retrieval will be converted into lumber to be used for the repair of various bridges and other infrastructure projects in the 3rd District of Leyte, Ms. Purificacion Daloos of DENR 8 said.

The retrieval plan for the recovery of the abandoned logs was presented on February 17, 2009 by DENR Regional Executive Director Regidor de Leon, to some 30 participants coming from the non-government organization Samar Island Biodiversity Foundation, Mayors of the municipalities of Hinabangan and Daram, representatives from the LGUs of Paranas and Catbalaogan, and representatives the various stakeholders in Samar Island.

The presentation of the plan through a dialogue is consistent with the clearance issued by Environment Secretary Jose L. Atienza to execute a deed of donation granted by the logging firm to a former congressman in Leyte province.

During the said dialogue, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Regidor de Leon disclosed that the plan would ensure that the retrieval operations and other related activities will not adversely affect the surrounding environment and other natural resources within the vicinities, and to promote transparency during the entire operations, for all concerned groups and individuals to witness as they deem fit.

Subject of the retrieval plan are 120 cubic meters or 30,000 board feet of dipterocarp logs cut by the San Jose Timber Corporation (SJTC) within its area of operation and stocked at Barangay Casandig, Paranas, Samar.

Said logs were cut before the logging firm ceased operations as a result of the logging moratorium in Samar Island in February of 1989. In fact, a report of Regional Technical Director Felipe S. Calub of the DENR 8 Forest Management Service, stated that said logs are already in the state of decomposition.

Said logs were donated by the San Jose Timber Corporation represented by its Chairman Antonio J. Lim to the former Congressman of the 3rd District of Leyte, Eduardo K. Veloso, during his incumbency in 2006.

"Even if there was a deed of donation entered into by and between the San Jose Timber Corporation and the donee/recipient former Congressman Veloso, the disposition of said logs is still governed by the existing laws and policies of the DENR," RED De Leon said.

In granting the clearance, Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. defined some terms and conditions which shall serve as guidelines for the regional office in issuing the permit to retrieve and dispose of the donated logs.

Director De Leon said that Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. who has always been very cautious in granting this kind of wood utilization permit, has acted on this long standing request by approving the same and by issuing a permit to retrieve and dispose the said logs under this donation, in favor of former Congressman Veloso.

RED De Leon revealed that foremost among the guidelines is the formulation of a retrieval plan as agreed upon by all parties who are involved in the inventory and validation of the logs and which must be approved by the Samar Island National Park-Protected Area Management Board (SINP-PAMB).

RED De Leon bared that Secretary Atienza has given instructions that such plan should not only specifically ensure that there will be no adverse effects of the retrieval operations to the biodiversity resources in the vicinity of the retrieval area, but must also include among others, the details of its transport, where it shall be stocked, corresponding dimensions and volume required.

Secretary Atienza likewise, expressly gave the directive that conversion of the retrievable logs into lumber shall be done outside the SINP and shall be closely supervised by DENR, RED De Leon added.

In that memorandum from Secretary Atienza, only the 30,000 board feet or an equivalent of 120 cubic meters shall be subject of the retrieval and disposition activities as per Deed of Donation

The retrieval plan, for transparency, also provides that these shall be confined only within kilometers 6 and 12 of the old logging road of SJTC. This shall be closely supervised and monitored by a multi-sectoral team from DENR, SINP-PAMB, LGUs and different civil society groups in the area.

Also included in the retrieval plan is the provision that trimmings and other by-products of the sawn logs shall be donated to the people's organization, KAPPAS, and other interested barangays.

All required fees, dues and forest charges shall be paid prior to the transport of the wood products, and shall be covered by proper documents as required under Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 94-7 and DAO No. 2007-31.

Further, the authority given is only good for a duration of sixty days from receipt of the permit, RED De Leon concluded.

This authority is given a duration of sixty (60) days from receipt of the permit. (PIA 8/DENR) [top]

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