By the Philippine News Agency
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has donated to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) nearly 871,453 board feet of confiscated illegally cut wood valued at over P43.5 million for use in rehabilitating battle-scarred Marawi City.
“In our drive against illegal logging, DENR was able to donate lumber to help in rebuilding Marawi,” DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said Wednesday during the agency’s 31st anniversary celebration.
The donated lumber may be used in manufacturing school furniture and repairing school buildings in the city. The DENR had previously donated confiscated wood to the Department of Education for the same purposes.
During the event, Cimatu signed the deed of donation formalizing the turn-over of such wood of various tree species. TFBM head and concurrent housing and urban development chief Eduardo del Rosario acknowledged the donation and thanked DENR.
The illegally cut wood was confiscated during DENR’s operations against environmental crimes in Zamboanga, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga regions.
“While we pursue culprits of illegal logging activities, we also continuously address extreme degradation of the country’s forests,” he said.
Aside from reforesting denuded areas nationwide, he said the DENR is also intensifying forest monitoring and protection by using the Lawin system.
“Lawin is a modern monitoring tool that tracks and records threats and observations in forests,” he said.
Over 3,000 forest patrolers received training and are already using the Lawin system, he noted.
Earlier, the DENR has decided to donate confiscated illegally cut wood, noting that some of this ended up with several suspected illegal loggers after the agency auctioned off the contraband.
Terrorists linked to the Maute group attacked Marawi City in May 2017, setting off armed conflict that ruined Lanao del Sur’s capital.
The government already initiated the rehabilitation of Marawi after declaring the city liberated from terrorists. Administrative Order 3 series of 2017 created TFBM, which was tasked with the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi City and other localities affected by the armed conflict.