P3-M worth hot logs seized in Sarangani-A A +A
Thursday, October 11, 2012
THE Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Command (NFEMC) said on Wednesday it intercepted around P3 million worth of illegal lumber in Tampoint, Sarangani province on September 12, this year.
Colonel Elmer Estilles, NFEMC deputy commander for marine operations, speaking in Wednesday's Club 888 Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, said some 4,200 pieces of illegal lumber came from Basilan province, which were supposed to be shipped out to General Santos City.
He said the success of seizure operation stemmed from intelligence reports, in close coordination with other government agencies, including Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Justice (DOJ).
"It was through prompt sharing of information that there was a contraband shipment of illegal lumber there," he said.
He said some of the logs were identified as mahogany.
An ongoing investigation, he said, conducted by the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force on this illegal shipment of lumber.
NFEMC also seized some 50,000 board feet of hardwood lawaan in a separate operation in Barangay Napnapon, Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat in August this year. Estilles could not account the market value of the illegal lumber that is believed to come from the forested area in Sultan Kudarat.
He said they were able to apprehend these logs by chance, since troops from NFEMC were deployed to Barangay Napnapon primarily to arrest the criminals involved in homicide upon receiving complaints from the communities there in the area, when they happened to see the stockpile of lumber.
"We're supposed to go after the leader of the lawless elements in the area who has an arrest warrants," he said, adding that it's their troops who were assigned in the operation since these lawless criminals were heavily armed.
He added that they deploy security patrol unit to protect civilians in the area.
He added they temporarily pulled out its troops from Barangay Napnapon in Sultan Kudarat to avoid possible hostility with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"We decided to back off to avoid untoward incidents that will dampen the peace process," he said.
He said there are still round 100,000 stockpile of hardwood left in Barangay Napnapon, but they just can't proceed in confiscating them because of the MILF.
He said many of the illegal logging operations in Mindanao are mostly situated in undenuded forested areas in Palimbang, Kalamansig, and Lebak in Sultan Kudarat.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 11, 2012.