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DENR, anti-illegal logging task force step up campaign in Sierra Madre

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Laguna and the composite anti-illegal logging task force “Oplan Berde” are now scouring the Sierra Madre range in Kalayaan, Laguna, after an aerial surveillance done earlier confirmed illegal-logging activities in the area.

DENR Calabarzon Regional Executive Director Reynulfo Juan received information that the initial operations conducted from February 12 to 16, resulted in the apprehension of a bandsaw and accessories, a C240 diesel engine, 17 pieces of sawn lumber, 57 flitches and 128 still-unprocessed round logs.

The estimated volume of the confiscated wood was 5,046.54 board feet.

The seized logs and equipment are now deposited at the headquarters of the Laguna Provincial Police Office in Bagumbayan, Santa Cruz.

Juan said the operation was part of the DENR’s stepped-up campaign against illegal-logging activities in the Sierra Madre mountain range, where the practice persists despite the ban on the cutting of trees in natural forests.

“This is the fourth wave of anti-illegal logging operations around Caliraya Lake and along its tributaries from Sitio Palanas to Sitio Pulot, San Antonio, Kalayaan,” said Emiliano Leviste, head of the DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office based in Barangay Lalakay in Los Baños, Laguna.

Oplan Berde members, led by Laguna Provincial DENR Officer Dr. Isidro L. Mercado, together with elements of the Philippine National Police led by Laguna provincial director Police Sr. Supt. Pascual Muñoz Jr. and of the 1st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army’s 202nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division led by Col. Jose Augusto Villareal made possible the aerial surveillance to pinpoint the exact location where illegal loggers operate.

“The Oplan Berde operatives are relentless in the task of curbing illegal logging or timber poaching in Laguna and the region. We, at the DENR, appreciate very much the assistance of the Army and the Police in our task at protecting our remaining forests,” Leviste said.

He said the confiscated wood will eventually be turned over to the Department of Education for the manufacture of chairs, tables and other school furniture.

Oplan Berde was formed to strengthen efforts to protect the remaining forest of Laguna.

Protection efforts complement rehabilitating the degraded forests under the National Greening Program which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of degraded and denuded forests by 2016.

The DENR in Laguna aims to have some 1,300 hectares of degraded public forestland rehabilitated within the year.







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