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Hataman chides DENR over laxity in ARMM log ban implementation

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OIC Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has rebuked officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for their negligence in the implementation of the total log ban in all the forests of the autonomous region.

Hataman expressed his ire after the police confiscated last week thousands of board feet of illegally cut lumber on board a cargo boat that came from Basilan Province and bound to General Santos City.

He ordered the conduct of discreet investigation to identify the owners of the illegally cut lumber who are allegedly high ranking government officials in Basilan Province.

“Reports reaching my office disclosed the owners are allegedly a vice mayor and a councilor. That is why I have ordered a thorough investigation on the matter,” Hataman said.

Hataman issued a memorandum order creating a task force that will go after illegal loggers at the same time ordered officials of the ARMM DENR, CENRO and PENRO to coordinate with the authorities and find ways to completely stop the illegal logging activities in the ARMM forests.

“I call on the DENR officials to implement the Executive Order for a total log ban in the whole of ARMM,” Hataman emphasized. He said no less than President Benigno Aquino III is totally against illegal cutting of trees.

The ARMM governor also ordered CENRO based in Isabela City to explain why illegally cut trees is very easy to transport to other provinces such as Sarangani and why illegal loggers easily obtain permit to transport but what is stipulated in the permit does not jive with what is being transported.

“Bakit sa permit lawaan ang stipulated doon pero iyong carga nila mahogany?” Hataman asked.

Hataman ordered to suspend the transport of the logs pending investigation and closure of lumber yards without permit.

Meanwhile, Lamitan Mayor Roderick Furigay had earlier disclosed the rampant cutting of trees in the watershed of Lamitan and Isabela City by unscrupulous individuals who are out to make fast buck.

During a forum, Hataman showed the participants an aerial view of the watershed in Basilan where most of the illegal cutting of trees abound.

Army's 104th Brigade commander Col. Carlito Galvez have personally witnessed the many affected areas in the Basilan forest during the aerial inspection upon the insistent prodding of Furigay requesting the military to help in the comprehensive drive to stop the illegal cutting of trees in the area.

Basilan Archbishop Martin Jumoad who was also present in the aerial inspection expressed disgust to what he had witnessed.

By Nonong Santiago




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