DENR team nets P5M worth of hot logs in Aurora, Quezon provinces
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA -- At least 3,000 pieces of hot logs were confiscated in mid January 2011 by an 81-man joint anti-illegal logging team in the Sierra Madre mountains, along the Umiray River in the boundary of Aurora and Quezon provinces. The catch brought to over 200,000 board feet the total volume of contraband logs confiscated by the DENR since the regional office mounted a campaign against illegal logging in 2006. DENR Regional Executive Director Ricardo Calderon said the logs were floated down the Umiray River from the cutting areas within the 12,000-hectare private timberland of the Green Circle Properties in the Quezon side of the Sierra Madre mountains.“We are closely coordinating with forest protection officers from Quezon to synchronize our efforts and level up our surveillance and monitoring activities in the Dingalan-Gen. Nakar area,” Calderon explained, adding that big-time financiers from Mauban, Quezon are bankrolling timber poaching operations to supply local woodworks and pallet manufacturing industry in southern Luzon. Calderon said DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has earlier placed eight monitoring stations and checkpoints on red alert in a bid to root out timber poachers and neutralize illegal logging in the tri-boundary of Aurora, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan provinces. In a related development, DENR officials have filed illegal logging charges against Mayor Rommel del Rosario of Bagac, Bataan, after some 1,000 board feet of undocumented lumber loaded on a government truck registered to the town government was found in his private residence. Del Rosario, who described the sawmill in front of his house as “carpentry machine,” was under surveillance by DENR operatives for the past six months after being tagged by concerned residents of Bagac as behind the illegal logging trade in his town. The DENR also recommended the filing of administrative and criminal cases against Bagac police chief, Sr. Inspector George Santiago, after some 1,900 board feet of confiscated lumber due for donation to the Department of Education allegedly “disappeared” under his custody. Since 2006, the DENR’s regional office has already confiscated a total of 870,000 board feet of contraband forest products valued at P29 million, and filed over 150 illegal logging cases in local courts.