Over thirty nine thousand board feet (39,000) of lumber from fresh-cut dipterocarp species with an estimated value of more than one million nine hundred thousand pesos were seized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Northern Samar and the Northern Samar Police Provincial Office (NSPPO) amidst the enhanced community quarantine period in the province.
PENRO Northern Samar’s Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Team led by PENR Officer Angelito Villanueva and Catarman CENR Officer Paquito Dabuet in collaboration with the Provincial Director of PNP Northern Samar PLTCOL Reynaldo B. DelaCruz conducted
the anti-timber poaching operations in Km. 9 and 11 of Brgy. Happy Valley and Brgy. Balite, San Isidro, Northern Samar from April 24-26, 2020. The joint DENR-PNP operation resulted in the seizure of 8,605 board feet of assorted lumber and flitches and seventy eight (78) pieces of boat keels equivalent to 30,895.75 board feet. Said lumber which totaled to 39,500.75 board feet has an estimated value of one million nine hundred seventy-five thousand thirty seven pesos and fifty centavos (P1,975,037.50).
Report from PENRO Northern Samar stated that the actual operations aided by drones showed stockpiles of lumber, flitches, and boat keels in separate locations within Barangays Balite and Happy Valley in San Isidro Northern Samar. While most violators were able to evade arrest due to the terrain, one stockpile of lumber in Brgy. Balite was claimed by certain Maria Fe Omrog.
According to PENRO Villanueva, “Investigation will continue. Administrative and criminal cases will be filed against perpetrators for violation of Section 77 of PD 705”.
DENR 8 Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr. said that the men and women of DENR 8 are actively on guard against illegal activities and threats to the environment even during the enhanced community quarantine. “Despite some restrictions due to COVID-19, our work continues especially on law enforcement. We encourage the public to coordinate and cooperate with us against illegal activities even with this COVID-19 crisis”, he adds.
DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has earlier ordered the DENR field offices to strictly monitor illegal activities even with the enhanced community quarantine prevailing in most parts of the country. He assured the public that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, personnel from the regional offices will all the more continue to protect the forests from illegal activities.