DENR anti-illegal logging drive scores anew in N. Ecija

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- A big crackdown on illegally sourced lumber in Nueva Ecija recently resulted in the seizure of more than 6,000 board feet of lumber of premium hardwood species worth more than a million, environment officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here announced yesterday.

Paquito T. Moreno, Jr., DENR regional director in Central Luzon said combined forces of DENR, the 7th Infantry Division of Philippine Army (PA), Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives undertook the raid in a one-hectare compound in the village of Langla in Jaen town of Nueva Ecija by virtue of search warrant issued by executive judge Celso Baguio of Gapan City.

“Premium species of Yakal, Lauan, and Molave were found inside the compound without necessary documents. These species are banned for cutting and obviously they are illegally sourced out from our remaining natural forest in Sierra Madre mountains,” he explained.

He said the DENR is not issuing any permit for the extraction and utilization of these hardwood species.

According to Fred Sadueste, chief of the enforcement division, before the bust, the outfit posed as a hardware or construction outlet registered under Jocelyn Flaminianio, which as later revealed doubled as a wood processing facility.

“We are not tolerating our lumber dealer permit holder to used illegally sourced forest products for their business,” he said.

DENR believes that the Flaminiano group controls about 60 percent of the trading of illegally sourced lumber from the Sierra Madre mountains in Aurora, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan and this illegal practice has been going on for the last ten years.

The DENR operative said that the illegal forest product came from the Sierra Madre Mountain range in Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town in Bulacan which pass through the river system of Sumacbao to Gen. Tinio in Nueva Ecija.

“We are serious in our campaign to curb once and for all any illegal forest activities and checking illegal market outlets of lumber is one of the best way to stop it,” he said.

There are 12 registered lumber dealership in Nueva Ecija or a total of 316 in Central Luzon.

DENR operatives were also able to seize assorted wood processing equipment.

The DENR is now preparing criminal and administrative charges to be filed against the owner of the wood processing facility.

If proven guilty, the offender could face imprisonment of more than 10 years under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code, for violation of section 77 of the Presidential Decree (PD) 705 as amended or the Revised Forestry Code involving possession of illegal sourced forest products.

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News

June 4 to 10 of every year is Philippine Eagle Week

AGAWID: THE UNTOLD STORY

Sighting for the birds of prey

For decade wildlife experts and biologists of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Luzon have been monitoring the vast and diverse mountain ranges of Sierra Madre in the portion of Nueva Ecija and Aurora to confirm the presence of Philippine Eagle. Wildlife officers have been tracking down this birds of prey and were unfortunate to confirm its existence in the area.

In 2000, local communities have observed this raptor flying in the clear sky, probably hunting for its food. But they are unsure of its true identity. However, this sighting further gave hope to conservationists to continue its quest in probing the existence of Philippine eagle in the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre.

According to literature, Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) is the world's largest eagle. Sadly, it is also one of the endangered species in the country. Standing at three feet tall and with a wingspan of seven feet, it is no doubt that the Philippine eagle is truly king among the great birds of prey.

The Philippine eagle can live to between 30 and 60 years of age. It feeds mainly on flying lemurs, palm civets and monkeys, hence the alternative common name of 'monkey-eating eagle'. Other prey items include rats, snakes, flying squirrels, birds and bats.

This species is endemic to the Philippines and found on parts of the larger islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao

A rescued raptor

Hope never fails. Sometime on June 2016, an upland farmer found a juvenile eagle trapped in a snare or “silo” that was used in catching monkey inside the Aurora Memorial National Park (AMNP). The wildlife sustained no serious injuries in the ordeal.

The raptor was immediately turned-over to the DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) based in Dingalan and was transferred to the custody of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) where it was cared for until its release into the wild. It was estimated that the eagle is just three years old.

The bird’s existence finally confirmed the presence of this critically endangered species in the Sierra Madre mountain range, a truly pride of Central Luzon.

Life in captivity

Agawid was placed in custody at the DENR Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City where the young eagle undergoes treatment and care. Agawid was placed in an eagle dome cage to prevent any human interaction. It was 17 months in captivity.

On May 2017, Agawid was transferred to a hack cage and brought back to a forest area in the national park of Aurora. The eagle undergoes a six month hacking process to ensure his survival and adaptive capacity in the wild.

Return to the wild

After more than a year of captivity, the young female Philippine eagle was released into the wild on October 4, 2017 in the forests area of AMNP. The released was historic and symbolic as it coincides with the confirmation of Secretary Roy. A Cimatu.

The spectacular eagle weighs approximately 5.31 kilograms just before its release. The eagle was named “Agawid,” an Ilocano word meaning “go home”. The eagle was able to return successfully to its natural habitat. It has been fitted with harnessed with radio transmitter to help DENR authorities monitor the eagle’s activities.

On April 2018, DENR Aurora and BMB conducted a re-trapping and monitoring of the young Agawid to check its health condition.

Today, Agawid is learning to hunt and survive in the wild. There are times that the young eagle return back to the community to hunt pets and other domesticated animal as an easy prey.

Portion of AMNP along the highway in Barangay Villa Maria in Maria Aurora town has been a favorite spot for many tourists as they enjoy a closer look of Agawid alights in the tree tops of tall dipterocarp trees in search for prey.

Agawid is being closely monitored to protect against illegal hunters and poachers. The eagle is a true symbol of the Filipino and crown jewel of Philippine biodiversity.

Let us protect Agawid and its habitat.

It is our country’s national bird, a beacon of hope and barometer of our ecosystem.

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