THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Cagayan Valley region has a high record of convictions on anti-illegal logging cases.
The DENR said Cagayan Valley is known as the land of notorious Timber Lincesees Agreement.
DENR Regional Director Benjamin Tumaliuan disclosed that for the last three years, Cagayan Valley has 90 recorded cases with Nueva Vizcaya having the most number of convictions.
“This record is a result of a massive and heightened anti-illegal logging campaign of the agency which likewise resulted in the loss of lives among our employees while on the job,” Tumaliuan explained.
He cited the death of Community Environment and Natural Resources officer Maliania Dirain in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan. She was shot inside her office at about 7:45 p.m. on February 7, 2012.
“It was saddening and the country was in shock with this incident when a lady environment officer in particular was killed,” Tumailuan said.
Tumaliuan also noted that the campaign is no longer within the confines of the forests nor on national highways.
“Our campaign includes even within the business sector particularly those engaged in the wholesale and retail of illegally-cut lumber for construction purposes,” he said.
Just recently, some 12,000 board feet of common hardwood lumber from two dealers in Cauayan, Isabela were apprehended by a composite team from the provincial government, Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the DENR.
DENR Information Officer Victoria Baliuag said that the seizure is the result of a massive operation launched “to clear all hardware establishments in Isabela province from illegal lumber.”
“We consider that the use of advance technology like Global Positioning System—equipped with cameras and aerial survey has greatly contributed to the successful operations in detecting illegal loggers’ activites,” Tumaliuan said.
He said the DENR will continue to “deny the market of illegally-cut lumber if only to contain the practice and to possibly save what remains of Cagayan Valley’s forest covers”.