House committee to probe illegal logging activities

Published July 19, 2018, 2:01 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza

The House Committee on Natural Resources is set to conduct a probe on the proliferation of illegal logging activities in Catanduanes and in other provinces nationwide on August 1.

The panel, chaired by LPGMA party list Rep. Arnel Ty will start looking into the status of pending illegal logging cases in Catanduanes next month, according to the Office of Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, who filed House Resolution 1798.


Sarmiento, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, said he wanted to know the “factors or reasons why illegal logging operators still proliferate in Catanduanes and in other provinces and why, sometimes, only abandoned logs and trucks are discovered with no perpetrators apprehended.”

“The recent incident in Catanduanes opens a can of worms in the way forestry laws are enforced in other provinces nationwide,” he said, referring to the arrest of two men who were illegally transporting six pieces of Narra lumber and 190 pieces of Red Lauan lumber allegedly from the town of Bagamanoc, Catanduanes, totaling to a volume of 2,178 board feet.

He said the suspects were illegally transporting the logs through a truck with a plate number ACO 1386 and registered last April 6, 2017, in the name of a private company.

Sarmiento said the joint operative team of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was allegedly considering the case as closed after the suspects pleaded guilty.

He lamented that the investigators do not see the need to dig deeper into the case or conduct follow-up operations from the pieces of evidence that were gathered showing the very high probability of involvement of private companies, government officials and employees in illegal logging operations.

Under HR 1798, Sarmiento asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to review logging operations nationwide and ensure the full implementation of local log ban initiatives.

He noted that illegal logging activities were reported in provinces of Quirino, Quezon, and more than 80 others in Mindanao.

“There is a need to conserve our forests in Catanduanes and in other provinces nationwide and to, once and for all, address the proliferation of illegal logging activities to address deforestation and other ill-effects and to preserve the benefits the forests give to mankind,” the House leader said.