Friday, August 2, 2013

Illegal lumbers seized in Bulacan, but no one is arrested

MALOLOS CITY—Intensified anti-illegal logging campaign of the provincial government of Bulacan in the Angat Watershed netted over 20,000 board feet of illegally cut lumbers.

However, no person has been arrested in the week-long campaign initiated by Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado through the Provincial Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (PAILTF).

The most recent accomplishment of the task force is the seizure of additional 3,857 feet of illegally cut lumber within the Ipo Dam watershed in Norzagaray town last Sunday.

The PAILTF said that they seized over 20,000 board feet of spliced and sawed lumbers within the Angat and Ipo watersheds since July 16 when members of the task force swooped down on the lairs of suspected timber poachers.

However, despite the series of confiscations of illegally cut lumbers, no one has been arrested and no chain saw has been seized.

Bro. Martin Francisco, PAILTF member and founding chair of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society (SSMES) said their movement has been tipped by cohorts of suspected timber poachers.

“They are getting more sophisticated, well financed and well equipped,” Francisco said referring to timber poachers within the Angat and Ipo Watersheds.

He said that cohorts of timber poachers are using cellular phones to inform timber poachers that the raiding team is coming.

Francisco said that timber poacher were tipped, they just leave the sawed lumber and fled with their chain saws.

In the past, a number of timber poachers has been arrested within the Angat and ipo Watersheds.

By constructions of towers by some telephone companies near the watersheds to widen their coverage has also been utilized and employed by timber poachers.

As this developed, Governor Alvarado vowed to continue the anti-illegal logging campaign to protect the watershed noting that the Angat Watershed is one of the most highly critical watershed in the country.

He also said that the provincial government will conduct seminars for forest rangers and watchers tasked to guard the watershed areas in eastern Bulacan.

The governor reiterated that cutting of trees along the watershed areas of Angat and Ipo  dams are strictly prohibited.

He also said that legal teams are now also studying the cancellation of permits of some sash factories and shops in Norzagaray and San Jose Del Monte City which are being suspected of buying the Illegally cut lumbers.

He also lamented that a big part of the forest covers of the watershed area in Ipo dam has already been denuded. (Dino Balabo)