Upon the instruction of Regional Executive Director Samuel R. Peñafiel, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer for Ilocos Norte Juan delos Reyes and CENR Officer of Bangui – Alberto Baguio executed deed of donation and turned over 93 pieces equivalent to a total of 1,043.34 board feet of confiscated red lauan, tanguili and other hardwood species to the Department of Education – Bangui Central Elementary School recently. Municipal Mayor Salvacion Cimatu witnessed the turned over. Bangui Elem School Principal Rosabella Nacino accepted the donation and she said the lumbers are to be used for children’s desks, chairs and office tables. Another trance of donation with the total of 854 board feet of lumber was given to Ilocos Norte Provincial division office (435 bd ft) and Laoag City Division.(419 bd ft).
According to RED Peñafiel, a total of 25 cubic meters (or around 11,000 board feet) are ready for donation to various public schools regionwide. In the province of Pangasinan, for instance, CENRO Dagupan City has around 9.82 or about 3,788 board feet of various hardwood species and CENRO Urdaneta has 15 cubic meters (or 6,360 bd ft) of lumber ready to donation.
Earlier, DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje instructed his regional executive directors that all seized illegal forest products be donated to DepED as part of the new government’s fight against graft, particularly dealings at the DENR involving illegal loggers.
RED Peñafiel, in turn, ordered his Provincial ENR Officers to strengthen their illegal logging campaign and be alert at all times. Logs are seized at various choke points and strategic places in the Region manned by the DENR forest officers in coordination with the Philippine National Police and the Local Government Units. Most of the confiscated logs came from the neighboring regions on their way to their deliveries. Those have no necessary documents are confiscated along with the conveyances used to ship the products. Peñafiel further instructed DENR Region 1 legal officer to fast track the litigation of the seized products in courts.
RED Peñafiel further gave assurance on the smooth turn-over of lumber to DepEd and ensure that all donated forest products are used for their intended purposes. Coordination with the Commission on Audit is also undertaken to properly account the donation of confiscated timber products. Inventory of seized products are to be updated regularly to determine whether seized products are ready for donation.
For years, Region 1was declared as “no logging” region, tho’ there are incidents of illegal cutting and poaching which to be addressed. However, the region serves s the entry and exit points of wood and non-wood products transported by neighboring regions like CAR, Regions 2 and 4. This scenario alerts the region to be vigilant and discerning in the maintenance of checkpoints on a 24/7 basis.