The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has donated 162,000 board feet of confiscated lumber to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12.
Demetrio Ignacio, DENR undersecretary for Field Operations, said the donation was pursuant to a directive by DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to turnover all confiscated logs and lumber, which are not the subjects of pending court cases, to the DepEd and other agencies of the government that need them.
The first donation of 111,000 board feet of lumber went to the DSWD to fill up the need for additional wood for the Reception and Study Center for Children, which is currently being built in Barangay Maibo in Tantangan town.
“Part of the donation will also be used by the agency in the construction of core shelters for residents of Carmen, North Cotabato who were recently affected by earthquake and also for victims of typhoon Pablo in Compostela Valley,” Ignacio said.
Ignacio, who flew to Tantangan for the official turnover of the forest products to DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman, signed the deed of donation.
“Since Secretary Paje headed the DENR, we have already stopped auctioning off all confiscated logs and lumber. This is because we found out that some of these auctioned forest products ended up with people suspected to be engaged in illegal logging,” Ignacio said.
For her part, Soliman expressed appreciation for the donation, which she said, would be a big help in rebuilding the homes of affected communities.
The second donation of 51,000 board feet to DepEd will be used to manufacture school desks, armchairs and other school essentials, including minor repairs of public school buildings in Sultan Kudarat.
The turnover of the confiscated lumber to the education department was formalized with the signing of the deed of donation between DENR Region 12 Executive Director Datu Tungko Saikol and Dr. Kahar Macasayon, schools division superintendent of Sultan Kudarat, who represented DepEd Region 12 Director Ma. Rosa Gutierrez.
Gutierrez and Macasayon accepted the donation with the assurance to conform to the terms and conditions.
Under the deed of donation, the DepEd shall be responsible for the hauling, distribution and documentation of the donated forest products.
According to Saikol, Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat has already committed to appropriate funds for the conversion of the donated forest products into school desks, chairs and tables.
Mangudadatu likewise conveyed his “salute to the military and the DENR” for their efforts in addressing the problem of illegal logging in the province.