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Endangered: 400 illegally cut Red Lauan seized

Kristine B. Quintas/NSA (The Freeman) - December 13, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Authorities recently seized about 400 illegally cut Red Lauan lumber in a shoreline in Lapu-Lapu City in violation of forestry laws.

The forest products worth P436,440 or equivalent to 7,274 board feet were confiscated in Sitio Malingin, Barangay Punta Engaño in the said city. The Red Lauan or Shorea negrosensis, which is computed at P60 per board foot, belongs to a Dipterocarp species which could grow as high as 50 meters and 200 centimeters in diameter.

According to Isabelo Montejo, director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-7, the illegal cutting of such tree species violates Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, as amended by Executive Order No. 277 and as renumbered by Republic Act 7161, in relation to EO No. 23.

Lauan is currently listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered and because of its hardness, it is used for furniture and cabinet-making veneer and plywood; pulp and paper; particle board manufacture; sash and mill work; boat planking and decking; and general building construction.

Montejo said the lumbers were abandoned in the shoreline when members of the Community Environment and Natural Resources-Cebu City led by CENR Officer Raul Pasoc, foresters Nolito Lapinig, Lucio Cañete, Arnold Omandam and forest rangers Jovelito Colot and Danilo Orbasido impounded them on December 10.

The apprehension was done after an intelligence report was received by CENRO-Cebu City and was jointly undertaken by the members of the Mandaue Police and the Philippine Navy.

The team took more than six hours to haul the items from Punta Engaño to CENRO-Cebu City in Pier 3 area for safekeeping to be used in the administrative seizure proceedings.

Montejo said though that the team failed to get some information as the contraband have been left near a shoreline and nobody answered some of their questions.

It was, however, believed that the lumbers came from Surigao.

“The importance of transporting forest products with original documents to be always carried by the shipper is a monitoring and controlling tool for us to identify whether these came from a legal source,” Montejo said.

In a spot report signed by Pasoc addressed to Montejo, the team posted a notice to the claimants in the site where the lumber pieces were found and at the barangay hall of Punta Engaño.  The notice gave 15 days to claim the items at CENRO-Cebu City, Pier 3, Cebu City so that the claimant will come for administrative seizure proceedings.

After the 15-day period shall have lapsed if these items remained unclaimed, CENRO-Cebu City will again issue a second notice for another 15 days before a final confiscation order in favor of the government will be approved by the DENR-7 director.

“We will be filing the appropriate case against the perpetrators if ever they will show up and failed to present the necessary legal documents in coordination with the PNP and PN,” Montejo said.

He emphasized that DENR Secretary Ramon Paje has been seriously implementing the anti-illegal logging campaign to stop the wanton destruction of forest resources, and enforcement of other environmental laws.

“We want to protect the remaining forest cover areas of the country not only to prevent floods and hazardous flooding but also to preserve biodiversity, protect threatened habitats and sanctuaries of endangered and rare species,” Montejo added. (FREEMAN)

ARNOLD OMANDAM ATILDE BARANGAY PUNTA ENGA CEBU CITY CITY COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES-CEBU CITY CONSERVATION OF NATURE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES MONTEJO PUNTA ENGA RED LAUAN
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