Sagada folks want sale of confiscated logs stopped

>> Monday, June 6, 2016

‘Tree-cutting site in Bauko is our ancestral domain’ 
By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province -- Ownership of ancestral domain should be recognized in the lot where a number of trees were cut at nearby Sitio Balintaugan of Bauko town.
This was the claim of families and clans of adjacent Ankileng here in the southern part of the town who met in a community meeting asserting that the selling of captured timber be suspended pending investigation on legal ownership of confiscated lumber May 16 this year.  
Folks here claimed the lot where trees were cut by suspect-loggers, four of them residents of  Ankileng, is owned by families and clans of Ankileng.
A series of illegal logging activities from May 13 to May 16 resulted in the cutting and sawing of 2,401 pieces of sawn pine wood following an operation of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) with the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Mountain Province.  
Confiscated pine boards are deposited at the PENRO grounds at Bontoc, Mountain Province.
Following this, a notice dated May 18, 2016 issued by CENRO Seizure Officer Paul Lobchoy  called on anyone who claims ownership of  the confiscated  volume of  sawn lumber of different dimensions  to submit proof of ownership of said lumber 10 days  from posting, otherwise these be forfeited in favor of the government. 
As part of their petition the village folks forward that the forests are governed by families and clans and passed from generation to generation with rights to use and manage such property.
They forward that the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) protects the rights of indigenous people who are the owners of the inherited land where the trees were planted and grown.  
The petitioners also want to make clear that illegal loggers should be apprehended to stop wanton destruction of the forest.
 Records from CENRO revealed three cases of illegal logging in violation of PD 705 were filed against three separate groups in 2014.  One was dismissed while the two other cases involving loggers from Ankileng are ongoing.


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