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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DENR intensifies protection of marine resources in Zambales

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here recently intensified its campaign on the protection and conservation of marine resources in the more than 7,000-ha Masinloc-Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape (MOBPLS) in Masinloc town in Zambales through the launching of a flagship species mascot named “Maggie”, under the Costal and Marine Ecosystem Management Program (CMEMP), environment authorities said.

Arthur Salazar, deputy director for Technical Services of DENR Central Luzon said the mascot Maggie symbolizes the blue spotted rabbit fish scientific Siganus corallinus, which is now threatened in the MOBPLS.

“Maggie was named after the pristine Magalawa Island in Zambales. The fishing for this flagship species is now being regulated by the local government unit because of its declining population,” he explained.

He said the blue spotted rabbit fish was chosen by local communities as flagship species because of its economic and ecological importance, being a major food source and livelihood for the fisher folk in the area.

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