16, 983 pieces of logs worth P67.93-M seized in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur

by Ben Serrano

      November 1, 2010


            TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur- The Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) revealed over the weekend that it apprehended a total of 16, 983 pieces of logs which is about 5,002.39 cubic meters for total 72 confiscations it made from November 25, 2008 to September 30, 2010 alone.


            The confiscated logs, according to the CENRO Talacogon office official report, were of mixed wood species or varieties, all naturally grown trees some were even Narra, Toog wood species which are ban for logging.


            Some of the confiscated illegally cut forest products were already wood fletches or sawn lumbers but majority were logs floating found, illegally transported, tug by tug boats along Agusan River supposedly are to be sold to buyers from cities of Davao, Butuan and Cagayan de Oro.


            At the least estimated P4,000.00 buying price here in Talacogon town as the market value depend on sizes and location of logs where buyers had to pick up, the whole confiscated, illegally cut and transported forest wood products totaled to P67, 932,000.00.


            If delivered in Butuan City, buying price of round logs with diameter of 40 centimeter up is about P7,000.00 or more while 60 centimeter diameter up, the buying price is higher and can be pegged to P 12,000.00 per cubic meter.


            CENRO Talacogon, Agusan del Sur officer Simon G. Inong said all confiscated logs were presently deposited at various depository areas from various private log ponds of various wood processing firms in Agusan del Sur down to Butuan City because there are no space already at the DENR-CENRO office here.


            “Some were deposited at various checkpoints along Agusan River from Agusan del Sur to Butuan City are subjected for donation to the Department of Education as per order from higher officials of the DENR”, Inong told BATAS MEDIA in an interview following reports that said majority of the confiscated logs are already decomposing state and can no longer be use.


            Inong admitted some are already in decomposing state while majority are still usable by Dep Ed to be use in building schools, chairs, school benches and others.


            Inong sees loopholes in the donation guidelines saying most Department of Education officials expected confiscated logs to be donated are already sawn when the reality it is still to be sawn especially those seized as logs.


            “Majority of the issue were who will pay wood processing firms in the sawing, DENR who is the donor which has no funds for it or Ded Ed, the beneficiary?’, Inong asked saying such situations had made delays in the donation process, thus, some seized logs waiting to de donated were already in rotting stages.


            One issue that still to be clarified, are the Philippine National Police’s share in the proceeds from confiscation, because the law requires, law enforcement agencies who helped DENR in confiscating logs from illegal loggers had specific share from proceeds of the confiscations as incentives that will make enforcements more active.


            Inong admitted the DENR alone could not attain such huge numbers of confiscations without support of local government officials and citizenry.