Friday, May 11, 2012

DENR intensifies monitoring of sash factories

MALOLOS CITY—Sash factories in Central Luzon are now under intensified monitoring by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources due to reports that have accepting deliveries of illegally sourced lumber.

This came as the DENR anti-illegal logging task force seized about  P70,000 worth of illegal lumber in the City of San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan on Monday afternoon, May 7.

Following the seizure, the task force said they are now preparing charges against a hardware operator and three other unidentified persons for violation of the Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines.

The law which was amended by Executive Order Number 227 in 1987 not only prosecutes timber poachers and illegal loggers, but individuals involved in the trade of illegally sourced lumber.

Joseph Mendoza, the intelligence officer of the DENR Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force they have been monitoring sash factories in the province and other parts of Central Luzon and Rizal province.

This is due to reports that sash factories and other wood enterprises has been accepting delivery of illegally sourced lumbers.

“Our monitoring paid off,” Mendoza said in vernacular and added, ”reports are now confirmed  and we have more reasons to further intensify our monitoring on sash factories.”

Among those under the monitor of the task force is Sureluck Wood Enterprises located along the Quirino Highway in Barangay Gumaoc, City of San Jose Del Monte.

Around 4PM on Monday, they monitored men monitoring freshly cut lumber from an Isuzu closed van with license plates CSL 394.

The said vehicle is marked “Fruit and vegetable dealer” and is said to be registered to a certain “J. Jimenez.”

“The driver and helper fled immediately when we introduced ourselves,” said Mendoza in a telephone interview.

A total of 1,498.67 board feet of lumber worth P67,410 were seized upon verification that it was not backed with any permit, including the one for transport.

Mendoza said they are still verifying the source of the lumber but sources said cited three possible places, namely Isabela; Minalungao in Nueva Ecija and Donya Remedios Trinidad town in Bulacan.

He said that the lumbers were cut by “carabao loggers” or timber poachers.

“Timber poaching destroys our watershed especially the Angat Watershed,” Mendoza said noting that it has been categorized as one of the most highly critical watershed in the country.

The same was affirmed by Bro. Martin Francisco of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society (SSMEES) based in the City of San Jose Del Montte.

Francisco explained that the Angat Watershed not only serves as the main source of Metro Manila’s potable water supply, it also generates electricity for the Luzon Grid through the Angat River HydroElectric Power Plant (ARHEPP).

“What is sad is the fact that there is a logging ban, and yet, there are people who continue to act with impunity against the environment,” he said but stressed that SSMES is happy with the seizure of illegally sourced lumber.

He said that it should serve as reminder to other timber poachers that the government is serious in its campaign to protect watersheds.

Meanwhile, Mendoza said they are preparing charges against the the driver and owner of the closed van, along with the operator of Sureluck Wood Enterprises.

He said that while Sureluck was given permit by the DENR, they have received reports that it is receiving illegally sourced lumber, but the task force has not luck until Monday.

 Mendoza said that in the past, they checked with deliveries at Sureluck and found no discrepancies in documentations.  (Dino Balabo)