“While we are saddened that these trees have been felled down illegally, the timely reaction of our law enforcement officers resulted to its seizure and confiscation. We can say that donating these lumber to victims of Typhoon Ambo is a silver lining to an otherwise unfortunate event,” says Forester Jose E. Bascos, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8.This was the statement of ARD Bascos during the formal signing of the Deed of Donation of confiscated forest products to the custody of the Provincial Government of Northern Samar which were later distributed to the different local government units  (LGUs) of Northern Samar for the construction of their respective COVID-19 isolation facilities. Other government agencies whose offices were damaged by Typhoon Ambo when it struck Northern Samar in May 2020, were also recipients of the donated lumber. 

Among the recipients were the Department of Education (DepEd) for the construction of classrooms, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Philippine Army (PA) for the repair of their respective offices and camps.

Subject of the Deed of Donation were 1,410 pieces of lauan with a volume of 27,038 bd. ft. and an estimated market value of Php 1, 329,220.00. Also donated were 51 pcs of boat keels with a volume 23,149.145 bd. ft. with an estimated market value of Php1, 152,820.24.

The said forest products were confiscated as a result of the successful anti-illegal logging operation dubbed as the “Battle for San Isidro Forest: Anti-Illegal Logging Operation”. The DENR enforcement team in coordination with elements from the Philippine Army (PA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), acting on information from concerned citizens, conducted operations at Brgy. Happy Valley, San Isidro, Northern Samar on April 24-26, 2020 and May 4-8, 2020 that yielded to the seizure of forest products with an estimated total market value of Php5.4 million.  A portion of which formed part of the donated forest products.

For their part, the Provincial Government of Northern Samar and the concerned law enforcement agencies expressed their appreciation for the donation and made a commitment to continue to answer to the Department’s call in enforcing environmental laws and to go after illegal poachers without let up.

ARD Bascos also extended the Department’s gratitude to all its active partners in the performance of its mandate and hopes to further strengthen the established linkages.