Army soldiers apprehend illegal logs in Catanduanes
by HM Cabunoc
Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur (29 July) -- Army soldiers confiscated illegally-cut logs in landslide-prone Catanduanes Sunday (July 25), a military report said.
Lt. Col. Danilo Aquino, commander of the 83rd Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army based in Catanduanes, said that he sent a platoon of his soldiers to conduct checkpoint operations in three different villages following text messages from concerned residents of about to be transported illegal logs from the upland villages of Hicming, Bigaa and San Isidro, all of Virac town.
Aquino, however, said that the illegal loggers were able to evade arrest, yet the soldiers were only able to recover the contraband left behind along the road.
The troop was able to account 876 board feet of timber, 1 motorcycle and 5 bicycles which were hastily abandoned by the fleeing perpetrators.
Ben Medel, chief of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Office here, also came and inspected the confiscated illegal logs.
Medel has asked the assistance of the army battalion in carrying out checkpoint operations and arrests of illegal loggers in the hinterlands of the island province.
Aquino, in response, has committed to support the anti-illegal logging campaign by PENRO-Catanduanes.
"I had been briefed about the past landslides in the province attributed to the rampant cutting of trees. Soldiers must become part of the solution to this problem to ensure that unnecessary casualties will be incurred among the residents in low-lying areas in this province", he said.
In December 2008, massive landslides, brought about by continuous heavy rains, blocked the Virac-Vega Road section in San Miguel town, stranding the residents of the town for many days. (DPAO 9ID PA/PIA) [top]