DILG chief to probe threats of Caraga Mayor vs. anti-illegal logging task force member

by Ben Serrano

January 15, 2011


             BUTUAN CITY (PNA) - Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo said he will be initiating investigation to determine criminal and administrative culpability of a municipal mayor here in Caraga region who allegedly threatened Wednesday a member of the anti-illegal logging Task Force Pagbabago.


            Robredo made pronouncement before newsmen at Bancasi Airport here Butuan City in an impromptu press conference during President Aquino’s first official visit here.


            Robredo was among cabinet secretaries and top officials who accompanied President Aquino’s official visit here Friday.


            Before the news conference during briefing on the extent of damages of flash floods in Caraga Region the Chief Executive blamed local officials and concerned government agencies for doing nothing in the unabated illegal logging and illegal mining.


            The Chief Executive challenged local officials to act now against illegal logging and illegal mining saying he will make follow up with local officials on the progress in the campaign against illegal logging and illegal mining.


            “Di pa naman ako masyado ulyanin, pagbalik ko sisingilin at sisingilin ko ito sa ating local officials dahil maraming tulay, kalsada nagkakahalaga ng milyon ang marami pang masisra dail sa kapabayaan natin sa kalikasan”, Aquino told newsmen during the hastily called press conference held right after distributing relief goods at the airport.


            Aquino hinted that said illegalities which are destructive to environment because it did follow laws may have caused flash floods and landslides that killed 23 persons, damaged P300-M worth of public infrastructures


            For his part Robredo said he will call for an investigation against a Caraga town mayor who allegedly threatened a task force Pagbabago member at the height of their anti-illegal logging campaign through a phone call


            TF Pagbabago Commander Major General Renato Miranda confirmed that indeed one of his men a certain Forester Sammy was allegedly threatened by the said mayor through phone call if the task force continues to confiscate logs.


            “The mayor issued death threats against Forester Sammy through phone by warning the forester not to continue anti-illegal logging operations in the area”, Miranda alleged.


            Miranda said Forester Sammy had already signed complaint affidavit against the Mayor.


            “We will seek truth on this as we will give chance for the Mayor to air his side at the investigating body” Miranda added. 

              A member of Task Force Pagbabago identified as Jacinto Branas, 56, a forester in Bislig City was shot dead by still unidentified gun men while guarding seized illegally cut logs on Thursday, Miranda said.


            President Aquino during his first official visit here in Butuan City yesterday claimed he is planning to issue a moratorium to all logging activities by issuing an Executive Order on Monday to six provinces namely Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Samar, Leyte, Surigao del Sur and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental.


            Some P300-M of government roads, bridges, schools, irrigation, agri crops and others were destroyed in flash floods and landslide that hit Caraga region at the start of 2011.


            At least 23 people died due flash floods, the Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Blanche Gobenciong told President Aquino in a briefing Friday. (PNA/Ben Serrano) .


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