• ARMM schools to benefit from smuggled lumber

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    SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DENR-ARMM) has allocated some 18,000 board feet of confiscated lumber for classroom desks and other structures in public schools in the different ARMM municipalities.

    The “hot lumber,” confiscated and impounded in a series of operations for the past 16 weeks by a joint team of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and local government units in Datu Blah Sinsuat town in Maguindanao, was smuggled from rainforests in the hinterlands of the autonomous region.

    The DENR-ARMM now has custody of the seized illegal forest products.

    ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman has a standing order for DENR-ARMM to utilize seized forest products for projects needed to hasten the education programs of the autonomous regional government.

    Hadji Kahal Kedtag, regional secretary of DENR-ARMM, said those behind the smuggling of forest products particularly from the municipality of Datu Blah Sinsuat and from Lebak and Kalamansig towns in Sultan Kudarat province will be summoned for an adjudication process.

    “Certainly they will not appear in our office because they poached these forest products without valid permits. The confiscated 18,000 board feet of lumber shall eventually be utilized for school chairs and desks to be distributed to ARMM public schools,” Kedtag added.

    The DENR-ARMM secretary said he is thankful to the mayor of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Raida Tomawis-Sinsuat, for actively helping enforce Philippine forestry laws in all of the eleven barangay (villages) under her municipality.

    The lumber now stockpiled at the compound of the Datu Blah Sinsuat municipal government center came from the towns of Lebak and Kalamansig, both in Region 12, and were intercepted by local authorities while the contraband was in transit.

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