INQUIRER.NET

Seized logs to find use as chairs, tables for schools

CAMP PACIANO RIZAL, Laguna—Public schools in Laguna may expect additional school desks and chairs in June from the pile of good lumber that government authorities seized in its series of anti-illegal logging operations.

Isidro Mercado, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) provincial officer, on Wednesday said DENR was turning over the confiscated forest products to the Department of Education as raw materials for classroom facilities.

“Most of the confiscated wood were red and white lauan (a type of dipterocarp) and may well be used as materials for desks, chairs and furniture,” Mercado said.

“Others were soft wood, usually used in making crates, but may still be used for other school facilities,” he said.

The DENR, the Department of Interior and Local Government, Laguna provincial government, provincial police office and the Philippine Army first confiscated 100,000 board feet of sawn lumber in simultaneous raids in the towns of Cavinti, Kalayaan, Paete and Famy in Laguna on April 13, as part of the agencies’ Oplan Berde [Boost our Environment Reserves for Development of our Ecosystem] against illegal logging.

Aerial- and water-borne surveillance operations in the same areas continued over the weekend and resulted in the recovery of another 100,000 board feet of hot lumber, according to Laguna police director Senior. Superintendent Gilbert Cruz.

Cruz said the combined number of seized forest products amounted to around P18 million and was so far the biggest confiscation since President Aquino ordered a stop to illegal logging.

He said the desks and chairs would be ready before the school year opens in June.

Since 2010, the DENR has been donating illegally cut wood to the schools instead of auctioning them off to prevent illegal loggers from bidding for the confiscated wood.

“The purpose of this is also to stop people from selling illegally cut forest products,” Mercado said.

Outbrain