Police chief, 3 others axed over illegal logging

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


KORONADAL CITY -- Five police officers, including the town's police chief, were relieved from their posts in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato for apparently failing to contain illegal logging activities in the area.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. said Monday night that the policemen were recalled to the provincial police command in this city, pending results of investigation on the illegal logging activity in Lake Sebu town that was uncovered last week.

"Illegal logging continues there due to the apparent failure of intelligence information gathering on the part of the local police," Pingoy said.

Senior Superintendent Nilo P. Wong, South Cotabato police director, ordered Superintendent Benito Siron to assume the post of Inspector Valerio Pado, Lake Sebu police chief.

Pado, Inspector Tirso Ontolan, Police Officers 3 Solomon Ocong and Edwin Cahurao, as well as Police Officer 2 Lorito Malon were directed to report to the provincial police command on Sunday.

On May 11, joint operatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), South Cotabato Provincial Environment Management Office and the provincial police command seized 12,987.74 board feet of illegally cut logs in Barangay Tasiman in Lake Sebu town.

Leonisa Alfaro, DENR-South Cotabato chief for community-based management unit, earlier said the raid came after they conducted a biodiversity monitoring in the area.

"These illegally cut logs are from naturally-grown trees, particularly Nato, Tanguile and White Lawaan," Alfaro said in a report from the provincial information office.

Logging in the village is banned because it is part of the Allah Valley Watershed Reservation and Protected Area, she added.

The alleged operator of the illegal logging activity was identified as Alas Kandadao, whom Pingoy vowed to hail to court, along with his cohorts.

Precy G. Mama, DENR-Central Mindanao Forest Resources Conservation Division acting chief, on Tuesday said the agency was still investigating the illegal logging incident to determine the persons who may be charged in court.

Pingoy said the confiscated illegally cut logs would be made into tables and chairs for use in public schools in the province.

The Provincial Government, DENR and the Department of Education earlier forged a memorandum of agreement in which the illegally cut trees will be utilized for public school fixtures.

Pingoy said they have earlier completed 15,000 chairs for elementary schools, and this time, the illegally cut logs are intended for use in public pre-schools.

In a bid to prevent more illegal logging activities in the village, Pingoy said community livelihood projects would be implemented in the area, as Barangay Tasiman is part of the provincial 200-hectare green forest program, a project supported by the Development Bank of the Philippines. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 18, 2011.

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