PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Debold Sinas has ordered the Cagayan Valley Police Regional Office (PRO-2) to conduct an in-depth investigation and beef up its campaign against illegal logging in the region.
“We check on this report [and] coordinate with DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) for the implementation. We direct RD (regional director) PRO2 to shed light on this matter,” he said.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque admitted that there may have been “lapses” in law enforcement since illegal mining operations have reportedly thrived especially in Cagayan Valley.
Roque made the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to investigate the illegal mining and logging activities in Cagayan Valley following the massive flooding and landslides triggered by Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco).
Meanwhile, PRO-2 Director Crizaldo Nieves said there is no letting up in their campaign against illegal logging and mining.
He said since February 2020, 404 people were arrested during the conduct of 322 anti-illegal logging and mining operations in the region.
He said they have confiscated 177 thousand board feet valued at P5.5 million as well as vehicles and equipment during the said operations.
Nieves said 265 cases were filed against those allegedly responsible for the said illegal activities.
He said three policemen were also charged for meddling in illegal logging and mining activities.
“Hindi lang illegal logging ang cause ng pagbaha but maraming factors. Isa na dito mga tributaries leading to Cagayan River, long term rainfall that cause saturation of soil, not properly silted rivers and other factors,” he said.
“The illegal logging since I assumed four months ago is being addressed strictly with Director Mambalan and we created task force with all law enforcement agencies,” he added.
PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana said they are limited to intercepting illegal loggers and miners at checkpoints.
“Of course the foresters, sila po ‘yung mismong direct access doon po sa mga lugar na maaaring meron pang areas subjected for operations by our government. ‘Yung foresters po ng DENR, nagshe-share sila, nagmomonitor ng mga nagcoconduct ng illegal logging activities,” he said.
More than 20 towns in Cagayan were submerged after excess water from the Magat dam were released since Thursday evening, November 12, 2020 due to the heavy rains brought about by Typhoon Ulysses. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)