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DENR apprehends P 10-million lumber shipment

About P10 million worth of Falcata logs (a kind of acacia), conveyances, equipment and accessories were intercepted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 8, together with the AFP 53rd Engineering Battalion, PNP, Phil. Coastguard and Navy at the Liloan Port here in Southern Leyte on Tuesday, September 20. Reports disclosed that the four 10-wheeler trucks loaded with undocumented 121 cu. m. or 51, 276.9 bd. ft. of Falcata logs were to be delivered to Butuan City. The logs came all the way from Brgy. San Jose, Mondragon town in Northern Samar.
Forester Allen Cebuano, Chief Enforcement Division who led the apprehending team, said that one Pablito Peria is claiming ownership of the lumber. However, it lacked pertinent documents such as certificate of origin of the logs, and permit to harvest and transport.

In the papers presented to them, he added, the logs reportedly came from a tree farm of one Jayson Bidwar, a DENR certificate of stewardship contract holder. However, upon site inspection, they found the trees were cut about 2.4 kilometers away from the area indicated in the documents. “Supposing that Peria bought the trees from Bidwar, he was still not able to present any deed of sale or special power of attorney to cut nor to take possession of those logs,” said Cebuano. Moreover, CENRO Edgardo Alegre of Catarman failed to inform higher ups of the shipment. Cebuano
explained that supposedly, Alegre should have informed, by way of radio message, the DENR Province, Forest Management Bureau (FMB), and undersecretary for operations of the shipment, considering its volume.

Instead, he made a radio message direct to a CENRO in Mindanao, which is in violation of the rules in the transport of harvested lumber from integrated social forestry areas. No payment of administrative fees was also made at the DENR Regional Office. Meanwhile, the confiscated forest products and vehicles were brought to the Naval Station Discoso Papa in Kuta Kankabato,
Tacloban City for safekeeping, pending administrative seizure proceedings. The shipper/owner will be charged for violation of Sec. 68 of PD 705 as amended by EO 277 and further renumbered as Sec. 77 by RA 7161 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines. Forester Cebuano then warned corrupt and erring civilians and officials who violate forestry and environmental laws that
they will continue doing their mandate to protect the environment amidst threats and harassment.

“We are glad that the AFP and PNP, as well as the various intelligence units in Region 8, have sustained and untiringly support our quest towards a healthy environment. We are so sorry to wrongdoers, corrupt fixers and to forest laws violators for we will never favor them.” “We pray that they will change and help us protect our forest for the benefit and welfare of the present
and future Filipinos,” he added.

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