THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) intensified its efforts in monitoring and apprehending illegal logging operations to curb unregulated practices that would create adverse impact on the country’s forest landscape.

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez earlier warned all regional heads to make necessary actions in ending the illegal-logging and step up forest protection initiatives in their jurisdiction.

“I am now directing all DENR regional directors to clean up illegal logging in their respective areas or they will face administrative and disciplinary actions. The rape of our forests stops now. I'm warning all DENR regional people who allowed this to happen - heads will roll!,” she said in her Facebook page.

DENR regional director Ruth Tawantawan, in a press statement, has ordered all the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) and City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) to strengthen their measures to avoid this to happen.

The Penro of Davao Oriental and Cenro of Lupon apprehended last February 8, 2017, 23 pieces of Mancono logbolts found abandoned along a mining road at Sitio Trinidad Chapter in Barangay Maputi, Banaybanay, Davao Oriental. The illegally-cut logbolts has an estimated volume of 1.89 cubic meters.

The operation at 7:43 p.m. was a concerted effort of the DENR and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Maputi in response to the directive of DENR regional director Ruth M. Tawantawan to all field officials to clean up their respective areas from illegal logging activities.

It can be recalled that one of the commitments made by Lopez is to stop illegal logging activities in the country with the assistance of the National Anti-Environmental Crime Task Force.

With the recent apprehension, Davao Oriental Penro Officer Gregorio Lagura ordered all Community Environment and Natural Resources officers to continue conducting surveillance and forest patrol activities in order to curb illegal logging activities in their areas.

Cenro officer Reynaldo Sator of Lupon urged his men to always look out not only for illegal logging activities in their areas but also for illegal mining, illegal possession of wildlife, coastal and marine issues and other environmental violations.

Illegal logging activities, specifically cutting, gathering, collecting, removing and possession of timber and other forest products both from public and private lands without authority are punishable and penalized under the Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines.