Dinagat Barangay official arrested for escorting P.5-M hot lumbers   

by Ben Serrano

     March 20, 2011



            Camp Rafael Rodriguez, LIBERTAD, BUTUAN CITY  (PNA) - A barangay official of Barangay Valencia, Cagdianao, Dinagat Island was arrested along with five others for escorting and manning motorboats loaded with P.5-M or half a million pesos worth of sawn lumbers of assorted banned hardwood species like yakal, lawaan, teak wood and others that are already banned. 

            Dinagat Island is one of the only sources of Teak Wood, rare first class hardwood specie already endangered due continuing unabated cutting that is sold at P50 per board feet at current prevailing market price. 

            Caraga police regional information office identified the Barangay official as Barangay Kagawad Claudio Billiones, 47, married and a resident of Brgy Bayanihan, Libjo, Dinagat Island.

            Billiones was arrested together with five others who were manning, operating the three motorboats were the hardwood species were loaded then intercepted by authorities on the way to Surigao City were the rare hardwood specie Teak Wood were to be delivered. 

Police said  an estimated half million pesos worth of illegally cut and sawn lumber of assorted hardwood species were intercepted by operatives of Cagdianao Municipal Police almost noon Friday, belated report from Caraga Police regional information office here said. 

            Report from Dinagat Islands police claimed that Cagdianao Police headed by its police chief P/SINSP ELIAS RICARDO E RICOTE while conducting a Seaborne Operation against illegal activities almost noon Friday off coast of Sitio Baliwan, Barangay Valencia, Cagdianao, Dinagat Island were able to intercept three (3) motorized boat loaded with more or less one thousand board feet (1,OOO board feet) of various hard wood species of lumber.

            The discovery of the hot lumber cargoes leads to the apprehension of the persons manning the three boats.

            They were identified as Ramil Pagasian, 23; Ariel Rodriguez, 23; Melvin Felominos, 29, all residents of Barangay Legaspi, Cagdianao, Dinagat Island; 

Other suspects arrested together with the hot lumbers were Leonardo Gerandoy, 55, married, resident of Barangay Valencia, Cagdianao, Roel Mahinay, 4O, resident of Boa, Cagdianao. 

            Police said suspects and the confiscated lumbers were properly turned-over to Cagdianao Municipal Police Office  for proper disposition.

President Aquino issued EO 23 which banned cutting of endangered hardwood species due to unabated illegal logging activities that destroyed last remaining Caraga forests.

But despite of the issuance, illegal logging activities continued unabated up to this day, different environmental watch groups and NGOs claimed.

NGOs and other green groups alleged rampant illegal logging activities still happened in Caraga region despite President Aquino ‘s order because of alleged wanton corruption.(PNA/Ben Serrano)

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