Illegal logging in Buguias averted

Illegal logging in Buguias averted

Through the Joint Operation of DENR-CENRO-Buguias, the PNP - Camp Molintas, the PNP - Buguias and the LGU - Buguias, an illegal logging operation at Sitio Polis, Brgy. Amgaleyguey, Buguias, Benguet was averted early morning of January 13, 2017 where a more or less 3,000 bd. ft. of illegally sawn  pine lumbers and slabs were seized.

The team from CENRO Buguias headed by the CENR Officer Rabindranath P. Quilala and Forest Protection Officer Benny M. Pesnek with the team from the Benguet Provincial Public Safety Command (PPSC) based at Camp Molintas, Bangao, Buguias headed by SPO 1 Joseph Miller Fakat and PNP Buguias proceeded to the target areas on the said date to suppress the on-going illegal logging operation.

The government operatives formed two (2) groups to cover the two (2) different sites where illegal logging activities are being undertaken. The team discovered the illegally sawn lumbers and slabs in the areas abandoned by the culprits, which were initially scaled to be more or less 3,000 board feet with a market value of about P120,000.00.  There were information gathered that the illegal loggers are not from the said area but are only being hired by the property owners and claimants to convert it to vegetable farms.

The said contrabands were manually hauled from the logging sites to the identified staging areas by the government operatives, which eventually were transported to CENRO-Buguias Office in Taneg, Mankayan, Benguet through the assistance of PPSC Truck and the 4WD Dump Truck of LGU - Buguias General Services Office (GSO).

Mayor Ruben Tindaan of the Municipality of Buguias and Co-Chairman of the LGU-Buguias Municipal Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (MAILTF) reminded all Barangay Captains of their mandate pursuant to Executive Order No 23 to actively be involved in the fight to stop illegal logging in the area. In fact, Buguias is known to be the Benguet Vegetable Capital in the North whose main industry is vegetable farming.

Meanwhile, CENR Officer Quilala is still very hopeful that the Sustainable Pine Forests Ecosystems Management Program that his office adopted last year will not be in vain. “There is a need to continually educate our people on the benefits of maintaining a healthy and balance ecology within the remaining pine forests in Northern Benguet”, Quilala stated.

Quilala reiterated that CENRO - Buguias have been campaigning for the revival of the pine resin tapping industry as a source of livelihood for the people of Benguet.  The collection of pine needles and pine forest wastes as fuel wood for biomass energy development and the revitalization of agro-forestry approach for forest conservation and development area are also part of the said program.  The challenge to convert pine forests into sustainable eco-tourism sites and the continuous strengthened forest protection activities within the jurisdiction of CENRO-Buguias are among their top priorities.|VSito, C. Buguias


Confiscated forest products turned beneficial


The economic value of some confiscated forest products would be redeemed by donating these to qualified recipient.  The National Food Authority (NFA), in its request for some logs intended for the fabrication of office chairs and tables for clients’ and visitors’ use, the DENR-CAR through CENRO Baguio donated a total of six point ninety four (6.94) cubic meter of Benguet pine logs. The 6.94 cubic meter is composed of thirty (30) pieces of logs with an aggregated length of about sixty-nine point twenty-three (69.23) meters.

In the Deed of Donation prepared, the Donor is represented by CENR Officer Rainier D. Balbuena of CENRO Baguio while the Donee is represented by Cecilia A. Cuncubierta, the Provincial Manager of NFA Benguet.

These logs were derived from previously cut Benguet pine trees with an approved permit from the DENR-CAR within the office premises of  Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) situated in Loakan, Baguio City.  These were turned over to CENRO Baguio City in accordance to Section 2.2 of Executive Order No. 23, s. 2011 which states among others that “all logs derived from issued cutting permits within natural and residual forests shall be turned over to the DENR for proper disposal”. 

Based on the guidelines under Memorandum Order No. 162, s. 1993 confiscated logs, lumbers and other forest products may be disposed through donation if these are not subject of a pending case in court or with other appropriate office; if these are without claimants or offenders against whom the case could be filed; and if these are found abandoned within forest areas, the ownership of which could not be ascertained and without claimants.

Further, the Order also specifies which beneficiary to prioritize in the event that two (2) qualified beneficiaries request for forest products at the same time.  On top of the priority list are the needy victims of disaster as certified by DSWD, for the School Building Program of Department of Education (DepEd), and those undertaken by the Department of national Defense (DND)/AFP Engineering Brigade.

Other beneficiaries shall include Health Centers, Public Markets, Municipal Buildings, Police Station, AFP camps, DPWH, LGUs and the Provincial, Regional and National Projects.

For CY 2016 until June 2017, the DENR-CAR donated a total of 77.936 cu.m. of lumber and 2,927 lineal meters(l.m.) of rattan to the different government agencies, of which the larger bulk is the donation to the DepEd. 

The breakdown of donated lumber per provincial office is in Abra .848 cu.m. lumber, in Apayao 51.390 cu.m. of lumber and 2,927 l.m. and in Benguet 6.700 cu.m..  Likewise, in Ifugao the total donations is 3.149 cu.m., while in Kalinga .400 cu.m. and in Mt. Province 15.446 cu.m.

Further, under the DENR Manual of Authorities, the approving authority is dependent on the volume of forest products to be donated.  It specifies that for donations that are more than 100 cu.m., the Department Secretary shall approve the donation.  But for lumber to be donated with a volume of 30.01 cu.m. to 100 cu.m., the Regional Director,  with clearance from USEC for Field Operations shall sign the Deed of Donation. Also, for the donation of 10.01 cu.m. to 30 cu.m and for those  less than 10 cu.m, the PENR Officer and CENR Officer, respectively has the authority to sign donation documents.  The DENR in the Cordillera Region, shall continue to donate confiscated lumber as long as the requisites are properly complied with.  In this way, the economic value of the lumber shall be redeemed.|GSAstudillo

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