Joint DENR-PNP-Army team confiscates P1.3M forest contraband in N.E.

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THE 30-DAY anti-illegal logging campaign ordered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against suspected illegal loggers in Nueva Ecija resulted in the confiscation of about 20,000 board feet of forest contraband worth at least P1.3 million.

The confiscations also included a total of 8,024 board feet of premium hardwood dipterocarp valued at half-million pesos recovered from the backyard of a furniture maker, and 329 sacks of charcoal worth several thousand pesos.

Executive director Maximo Dichoso of the regional DENR here announced that the joint team of DENR forest enforcers, local police and Philippine Army operatives carried out “CamPlan N.E. 10.12” to neutralize within a month illegal logging syndicates operating in Gen. Tinio town, a known “hotbed” of illegal logging in Nueva Ecija.

The composite team was composed of operatives from DENR Talavera and Cabanatuan offices, the 702nd Brigade and 56th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and the Nueva Ecija Protection and Security Command of the Provincial Police.

Seized from the backyard of furniture maker Apid Maducdoc of Sitio Batog in the village of Rio Chico were contraband wood of Yakal, Bagtikan, and Apitong, which informants said were cut from the mountains of Sierra Madre in Dona Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan, and floated down the river of Sumacbao in Gen. Tinio.

The DENR is set to file criminal charges against Maducdoc for violations of Section 68 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines, as amended by Executive Order No. 277 of 1987. Maducdoc has since remained at large.

Dichoso also ordered a probe on the involvement of certain local officials who abetted illegal logging operations in Gen. Tinio.

If proven guilty, Dichoso said, Maducdoc face imprisonment of up to 20 years for forest products worth more P22,000 under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code.

Resolution No. 2011-006 of the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (AILTF) states that all forest products coming from natural and residual forests after February 28, 2012 shall be considered property of the state.

The DENR has identified the towns of Bongabon, General Tinio, and Gabaldon as illegal logging “hotspots” in Nueva Ecija.

Last year’s forest protection campaign  in Central Luzon yielded 212,517 board feet of assorted forest contraband and conveyances worth at least P7 million.