MP cops, officials probed on links to illegal logging

>> Wednesday, June 1, 2016

By Gina Dizon

BAUKO, Mountain Province – Environment authorities are probing involvement of cops and local officials on rampant illegal logging here confiscation of 2,401 pieces of sawn pine wood at the northern part of this town.
Why illegal logging persists here is a major question in the investigation, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Octavio Cuanso said.
Three previous cases have already been filed by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office against illegal loggers at Balintaugan (where the lumber was seized) with a similar name involved in charges filed.
The probe whether police are on the take including DENR men and barangay officials from illegal loggers or whether they are the ones directly involved in financing and “protection” of culprits.
The question here now is why illegal loggers are so bold in their activities if they are not “protected” by government officials to include police.
Cuanso said Mountain Province practices indigenous ‘batangan,’ an indigenous way of protecting tress and forests but why is it that illegal logging is rampant here or other towns of the province.
Cuanso said cutting of trees is “massive” and cannot be considered indigenous since this is beyond the customary practice of cutting a few trees enough to build a house.
The sawn pine wood here was confiscated May 13-16 following an operation of the CENRO and PENRO with the Philippine National Police of Mountain Province.
Confiscated pine boards are now deposited at the PENRO grounds at Bontoc, Mountain Province.
Carlos Combisen, Ariel Bomogao, Jerry Padingil, Joel Padingil and William Daping were charged with illegal logging on violation of Presdential Decree 705 at the Regional Trial Court in the capital town of Bontoc.
Cuanso said he urged barangay captain Matthias Angayen of Balintaugan to introduce eco-tourism at Balintaugan where the Spanish Trail crosses and where the expansive Balintaugan airfield is located.
Bauko mayor Abraham Akilit said Angayen should explain why there was no information of illegal logging at Balintaugan that reached the Bauko local goverment.
Akilit also said a Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) for Bauko was requested at the DENR to process.

Cuanso said  the FLUP documents customary practices of forest protection and land use noting local customary practices before enacting municipal  implementing rules on the 2008 Joint Administrative Order of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Dept. of  Environment and Natural Resources  providing   guidelines and  procedures for the recognition, registration and confirmation of all sustainable traditional and indigenous forest resources management systems and practices of indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples in ancestral land.  


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