13,000 bd ft of illegal logs seized in NE

Joint operatives from DENR, Nueva Ecija Police Provincial office, and Philippine Army recover illegal forest products worth P.8 million along Sumacbao River in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija on Friday. (DENR RO3 PHOTO)
THE intensified crackdown on illegal forest activities of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office in Central Luzon and partner law enforcement agencies resulted in the interception of over 13,000 board feet of illegal logs in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija on Friday.
This came after a composite team from the DENR, Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office (NEPPO), local police station of General Tinio, and 84th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army held an operation in Barangay Pias and Rio Chico of the said municipality.
Gerundio Fernandez, provincial chief of the DENR office in Nueva Ecija, reported that upon seeing operatives coming over near the area, illegal loggers immediately escaped and abandoned cut logs of Tanguile and Mayapis along the Sumacbao riverbank.
“Illegal loggers took advantage of the high level of water in Sumacbao River brought by heavy rainfalls. Confiscated logs were kept afloat and transported to the downstream of the river using balsa,” Fernandez explained.
Apprehended products with a corresponding value of over P800,000 were brought to the municipal compound of General Tinio and NEPPO for temporary custody and safekeeping.
The DENR, in collaboration with the NEPPO, is in the process of filing criminal case against the identified culprits for violation of Presidential Decree 705, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
The DENR, on the other hand, is initiating administrative adjudication of the case.
Forest rangers and protection officers of the DENR are deployed in the area to strictly monitor potential movement of contrabands, following reports that illegal loggers may operate again to transport remaining logs through the Sumacbao River.
For his part, DENR Regional Executive Paquito Moreno, Jr. has expressed his gratitude to the NEPPO and the Army for their significant support to the efforts of the DENR to curb illegal forest activities in Nueva Ecija, noting that it is through their collective force and strong alliance that operations against environmental crimes have become deterrent and preventative.
This year, the DENR, along with said law enforcement partners, has conducted 85 operations leading to the apprehension of over P3.5-million worth of suspected illegal forest products.
Aside from strengthening the Regional Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force, the DENR has worked closely and sustained active partnerships with 7th Infantry Division, 703rd Infantry Brigade, First Scout Ranger Regiment, and 3rd Regional Community Defense Group of the Army, Philippine National Police, LGUs and indigenous groups to boost the government’s forest and wildlife protection programs, particularly in saving the remaining forests of Central Luzon.
Moreno reiterated the DENR’s call for heightened public vigilance against environmental crimes and urged local residents to immediately call authorities when they spot any incident of suspected illegal forest activities.
The executive director appealed to the public to report these concerns to the nearest DENR office in their area or contact DENR hotline at (0945) 368 5303.