Illegal Lumber Apprehended in Camarines Norte

 

            The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Provincial Environment and Natural Resources of Camarines Norte (PENRO) is strictly implementing its environment and natural resources laws within its jurisdiction.

           PENRO Camarines Norte apprehended 94 pieces of flitches with a total volume of 3,475 board feet or 8.19 cubic meters on July 26-30, 2015 at the Barangays of Matanlang and Calabasa, Labo, Camarines Norte. 

            In a report by the DENR PENRO composite team headed by Forester Nestor B. Mata, it was stated that it took five days for the team to recover the forest products due to detrimental reasons. It was reported that the team proceeded to the target area in the afternoon of July 26, 2015 and found more or less 70 large flitches and round logs near the river bank of Labo River in Matanlang. They found no persons in the area so they went back to Calabasa, Labo to get reinforcement from the army. In addition, they then contacted seven (7) Wildlife Enforcement Officers (WEOs) in Tulay na Lupa. In an account relayed by one of the team members, he said that while they were retrieving the logs and their army escorts were taking their meals (since it was already late in the afternoon), several men with bolos harassed them and so they were forced to stop and leave the area. They resumed the operation the next day, July 27, 2015 and hired eight (8) laborers from Daet but due to their frail built they only lasted one and a half day and quitted due to fatigue. Thus, they were only able to haul few flitches from Matanlang to Calabasa driving them from the Labo River. On the third day of operation, July 28, 2015, many of the flitches disappeared and were either transferred, hidden and scattered into farther areas at about 150 meters away from the riverbank. The team decided to hire two (2) chainsaw operators to be able to resize the logs into smaller dimensions and ease the handling and hauling. Furthermore, it took them two more days to do the resizing, hauling from the upland to the riverbank. From the river, the flitches were rafted and made afloat downstream via Labo River until it reached Calabasa where it can be transported by truck. A total of 94 flitches comprising of PMG species (not 54 as inadvertently reported on-the-spot report dated July 31, 2015) were recovered and temporarily stockpiled at PENRO. Since the apprehended items have no claimants, the team recommended the immediate administrative confiscation proceedings and disposal. 

         Earlier, DENR Regional Director Gilbert C. Gonzales issued a strict directive to field offices to intensify the campaign against illegal logging activities and to prosecute all those who shall violate existing forestry laws to underpin enforcement efforts under Executive Order 23 or the moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residuals forests. 

Press Release: August 4, 2015

 

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STATEMENT OF DENR SECRETARY GINA LOPEZ ON THE PROPOSED UNDERWATER THEME PARK IN CORON, PALAWAN

“If the underwater theme park would cause the destruction of corals, right away, I will say no way. The fishermen need corals. The corals are the home for the fish, and some of our corals have shells and sponges that can cure cancer. I will never allow our biodiversity to be killed for money that some people want to make.

The Philippines is a country of seven thousand islands, which has the highest endemism per unit area in the entire world, while Palawan is the number one island destination in the planet. It has rich biodiversity and lots of ecotourism potentials that should be primarily tapped by the Filipino people for the Filipino people.

In any case, whatever decision that the DENR will make shall be filtered and anchored on social justice, which means that the marine resources of Palawan should benefit the greater majority.”###

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