P2M in illegal logs rotting in Bulacan
CITY OF MALOLOS — Illegally cut logs and timber worth P2 million have been allowed to rot near the watershed areas of the Sierra Madre because bringing them down would cost the government too much resources, Bulacan officials here said.
A total of 986 pieces of assorted “lawaan” and 36,245 board feet of lumber and flitches could be hauled out of the mountain straddling Bulacan and Nueva Ecija provinces only by air, which was too expensive, said Elizabeth Apresto, head of the Bulacan provincial environment and natural resources office.
The logs will fill four trucks but no roads lead to the area, she said, adding that timber poachers have been using carabaos and horses to ferry the logs that takes days.
Gov’t and volunteers
The logs were seized in a series of operations from March 31 to June 6 at Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town in Bulacan and General Tinio town in Nueva Ecija.
The operations were conducted by government environmentalists and volunteers from groups like Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc. (SSMESI) and Sagip Forest Ranger-Bantay Gubat, said Apresto, also the vice chair of the Bulacan anti-illegal logging task force.
The decaying logs could serve as a warning to illegal loggers, said Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado.
“It will show the illegal loggers that their efforts have gone to waste,” he said.
Illegal logging has been concentrated near Sumakbaw River in the watershed of Barangay Kalawakan in DRT, said SSMESI chair Martin Francisco.
He said illegal logging had also been detected at Barangay Sapang Bulak; the Angat watershed accessible through Barangays Kalawakan and Kabayunan, all in DRT; and the watershed between Barangay San Mateo in Norzagaray town and Barangay San Isidro in the City of San Jose del Monte.
Apresto said the task force had arrested and filed charges against 27 suspects in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Rizal province. —Carmela Reyes-Estrope
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