TACLOBAN CITY – Amid reports of on-going illegal logging in devastated areas affected by typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)- Region 8, intensified its efforts to protect the standing trees as the demand for lumber materials increases to reconstruct damaged houses.
“We have to closely monitor the utilization of trees felled during typhoon Yolanda in order to protect the standing trees spared from the typhoon from being cut by unscrupulous loggers”, says Regional Executive Director Leonardo R. Sibbaluca in a statement.
According to Purificacion Daloos, regional information officer of the environment office, the operatives from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Palo, Leyte headed by CENR Officer Manuel Ferreras made series of confiscations of illegally transported lumber.
Over the weekend, a total of 135 pieces of Kili-kili (anubing) lumber with a volume of 1,050 board feet on board a Fuso Canter Truck with Plate No. GTB-950 was confiscated in Jaro, Leyte. Said lumber were supposed to be transported to Tacloban City.
On that same day, three motorcycles loaded with contraband lauan lumber were apprehended in Carigara, Leyte, 50-kilometers from Tacloban City. Daloos said, the total volume of lumber carried by the three motorcycles are 418 board feet valued at P20,900.00.
Last week, Southern Leyte Governor Roger Mercado said that a certain community environment officer of the DENR has been accused of illegal logging in the guise of retrieving fallen trees caused by typhoon Yolanda. He said his office is awaiting the results of the complaints.
According to Daloos, PENR Officer Ranulfo Arbiol of PENRO Leyte, encourages those who want to utilize felled trees in their respective lands to go to the nearest DENR CENRO to facilitate the legal use of such materials.
In 2011, President Benigno C. Aquino III signed Executive Order No. 23, imposing a moratorium in the cutting and harvesting of trees in the country. It prohibited the DENR from issuing and renewing logging agreements and tree cutting permits involving natural and residual forests.
President Aquino also mandated a National Greening Program for tree-planting activities. The Aquino government hopes to plant 1.5 billion trees nationwide from 2011-2016.
RED Sibbaluca made an appeal to the public, to inform their office for any illegal activities observed in the areas so they can take appropriate action on the matter. He said the agency will launch a massive tree-planting activity in the next few months.(PNA)