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PIA News Service - Saturday, September 28, 2013

DENR eyes other options to pin down illegal logging kingpins

By Eric F. Gallego

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 28 (PIA) -  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Caraga region is exploring other options  that can put to jail the perpetrators including  the main operator and financier  of illegal logging and timber poacher. 

"We must admit that the DENR is finding hard time in pinning down a mastermind of illegal logging activities including their financiers owing to inadequate knowledge of legal procedures by the people imposing the environment regulations," DENR 13 Regional Executive Director Nonito M. Tamayo said.

Director Tamayo was answering a query from the members of the local media during a press conference held at the DENR Conference shortly after the signing of the Memorandum of Partnership with the Agusan National High School Class 1990 on the planting of mangrove as its contribution to the National Greening Program.

He said the DENR has filed 81 cases related to illegal logging against the operators and timber poachers and more than half of these cases were dismissed by the court due to technicalities and insufficient documents. 

 "The rest of the cases that we have filed at the fiscal office are still awaiting court actions," Tamayo said. 

He said the DENR top management at the Central Office is on the process of reviewing the system to correct deficiencies in operational management  based on the experiences of the people involved in the anti-illegal logging operations. 

"There is urgency to upgrade our capabilities and skills in the operations particularly in the proper filing of criminal cases with the court against the perpetrators of our environment and natural resources otherwise the DENR will always be at the losing end, " Tamayo said.

He said the   Philippine Army, PNP-led operations have succeeded in reducing   the number of hot spots in Caraga Region from 31 to 17 municipalities.

These municipalities that are considered in the lists of 'hot spot'  are the municipalities of Esperanza, Sibagat, Trento, Loreto, Rosario, La Paz, Talacogon, and San Luis in Agusan del Sur ; Bislig, Lingig, Carmen,  San Agusan, Lianga, Barobo, Tandag, and Tago in Surigao del Sur and Cadianao in Dinagat Province. 

He said there were at least 775,755.56 bd. Ft. of lumber were confiscated over the last nine months since January this year by joint operatives of the PNP-Philippine Army , the Local Government Units and the DENR .

A total of 47 units of trucks and other vehicles that were used in the transport of   illegal log products were also confiscated and impounded by the police authorities during that period. (NCLM/DENR-13/PIA-Caraga)