BALER, Aurora: Combined operatives from the Philippine Army (PA), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have scored heavily against illegal loggers and timber poachers with the seizure of over 1,600 board feet of “hot lumber” in a series of operations in Nueva Ecija and this province.
Lt. Col. Joey Escanillas, commander of the Philippine Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion based in this capital town, said the operations led to the filing of charges of violations of Presidential Decree 705, also known as the Forestry Laws, Rules and Regulations.
Escanillas said the seizures covered a 19-day operation in four different sites, three of which were in this province.
On February 2, an Army team led by Corporal Jennyson Mandun and personnel from the DENR Aurora’s provincial environment and natural resources office seized 600 board feet of illegally cut lumber at Barangay Dinadiawan, Dipaculao town.
A day after, an undetermined volume of lumber loaded in two “kolong-kolong” or improvised carts, was intercepted in Barangay Diteki, San Luis by joint DENR-PNP team, according to Fortunato Ortiz, protected area superintendent of the Aurora Memorial National Park.
Escanillas said last month, 1,068 board feet of contraband lumber were also seized within three days by the Army, the PNP and the DENR.
He said that the 56th IB’s Bravo Company led by 1st Lt. Reynaldo Aragones Jr. seized 568 board feet of narra, a banned specie at a checkpoint in Barangay Simbahan, Dinalungan, Aurora on January 15.
The illegally cut lumber was loaded in a van driven by a certain Fidel Tubia of Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
Tubia was accompanied by three others when caught namely Conrado Corpuz, also of Sta. Maria, Fidel Parohinog of San Jose del Monte City, both in Bulacan and Reynaldo Broniosa of Barangay Gupa, Dipaculao.
On January 17, a team led by Pepito Dukha of the DENR and Corporal Benjie Purganan seized 500 board feet of illegally sawn lumber at Sitio Camp Martyr, Barangay Labi, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija.
Escanillas said the government operating team will have no let-up in the campaign against illegal loggers and timber poachers operating in the two provinces which are under the jurisdiction of the 56th IB.
“Our pre-emptive measures against environmental destruction activities such as illegal logging and timber poaching will be continuing at all cost. We will never tolerate these activities no matter who is involved,” he said. PNA