DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Southern Mindanao is investigating the alleged involvement of local government officials in illegal logging activities in Davao Oriental and neighboring provinces.
Claudio Jomaoas, DENR’s Region 11 forest resources and conservation chief, said information about the alleged involvement of local officials was provided by tipsters in the wake of recent seizures of illegally cut logs. |
He said based on the information it had gathered, these officials had hired people to do the jobs for them. He would not release, however, the names of the officials allegedly involved in illegal logging.
“If there is proof of their involvement in illegal logging, their cases will be referred to the Department of Interior and Local Government for appropriate action since they are government officials,” Jomaoas told reporters here.
Last March, the Anti-Logging Task Force confiscated some 241 cubic meters of illegally cut lauan logs in the municipality of Boston in Davao Oriental that were being transported on trucks and other heavy equipment supposedly owned by a local official. The logs and lumber had come from the municipality of Lingig in Surigao del Sur.
Jomaoas said the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Baganga, Davao Oriental, also recently seized illegally cut forest products. As in the March confiscation, the forest products were also from Lingig, which is only 19 kilometers from Boston.
He said the DENR suspected that some government officials in Loreto, Agusan del Sur, were also into illegal logging and they were in the process of verifying their suspicions.
President Benigno Aquino declared a logging moratorium in Mindanao following devastating floods in 2010.
Since the moratorium was issued the DENR, Jomaoas said, has confiscated 44,615 logs valued at P33.7 million in Southern Mindanao alone.