DENR denies illegal logging caused Nueva Ecija flashfloods
Manny Galvez (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2015 - 10:00am

CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday denied a report that rampant illegal logging was the cause of massive flashfloods and mud flows which inundated many areas in Nueva Ecija during the onslaught of Typhoon Lando.

Leovino Ignacio, DENR provincial environment and natural resources officer, said the trees cascading from the mountains, particularly in Gabaldon town, were brought down by heavy rains and strong winds.

“The uprooted trees cascading from the mountains were brought down by the winds and rains which hit Gabaldon hard. Remember that typhoon signal no. 3 was hoisted over the entire Nueva Ecija during Lando,” he said.

“There are no illegal logging activities in Gabaldon. And besides, Laur and Gabaldon are long barren,” he added.

The Provincial Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (PAILTF) has been closely monitoring operations and has maintained zero illegal logging in the province’s 849 barangays.

“As far as our area of jurisdiction is concerned, Nueva Ecija is free from illegal logging activities. At best, the province is merely being used as exit point of forest products coming from adjacent provinces,” Ignacio said.

Ignacio was reacting to a television report that uprooted trees seen in the aftermath of the typhoon were allegedly caused by illegal logging in Gabaldon and in nearby Laur town.

Speculations of illegal logging were fanned when tons of mud cascaded from the mountains to many portions of the highways, particularly in this city.

Earlier, Gov. Aurelio Umali, Ignacio and Wilfredo Pangilinan of DENR inspected damaged areas in barangays Bagting, Baterya, Calabasa and Ligaya in Gabaldon and Barangay San Vicente in Laur, where they spotted trees, twigs and branches and debris.

Umali has asked Ignacio and other DENR officials to conduct retrieval operations and make an inventory of the felled trees.

“We have to conduct an inventory because during the time of Typhoon Santi, many residents also retrieved the trees and turned them into charcoal so we never had an idea of the volume of trees,” he said, adding the uprooted trees may later be processed into lumber after registering with barangay officials.

ACIRC AURELIO UMALI CALABASA AND LIGAYA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES GABALDON GABALDON AND BARANGAY SAN VICENTE IGNACIO IGNACIO AND WILFREDO PANGILINAN ILLEGAL NUEVA ECIJA TREES
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