Undocumented forest products and paraphernalia have been seized while six illegally established mini sawmills have been dismantled in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Community ENRO Tubay together with the 29th Infantry (MATATAG) Battalion, 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) of Agusan del Norte and the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) of the Philippine National Police conducted the raid on March 17 based on the information of a concerned citizen.
A total volume of 5,000 board feet was seized with a total estimated market value of P150,000.00, according to a report.
An investigation is still ongoing to identify the owners and persons involved in the illegal activity who will be penalized under the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 that prohibits cutting, gathering, and/or collecting timber or other forest products without a license as well as under Republic Act 460 for operating sawmills without a permit.
“I am deeply grateful that they are unwavering in their undivided support and unrelenting in their efforts to assist our agency in this fight against illegal logging activities. Rest assured that as your partner agency, we will also do our part to support your peace endeavors,” Officer-In-Charge of CENRO Modesto U. Lagumbay Jr. was quoted in a report.
Commanding Officer of 29IB Lt. Col Isagani O. Criste said the effort is not just about protection and preservation of the environment, but also in line with the President’s campaign to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).
“How? Because these illegal logging activities have long been the means of the financial and logistical support systems of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs). Yes, that is the truth behind these illegal logging activities,” he said.
This was revealed by former rebels who claim that these illegal loggers are helping CTGs to transport food supplies in the guerilla hinterlands.
“As your Army, we will continue to carry on our work. We will continue to interrupt whatever illegal logging activities they are doing until we can make them realize the importance of preserving our natural environment and until they decide to stop providing support to the CTGs who have deceived people with their wicked plans. Please don’t get blinded and deceived by their sweet and alluring lies,” Criste said.