Police seize 6,000 bd. ft. of lumber in N Cotabato

January 7, 2012 1:40 pm 

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Jan, 7 -– Police in North Cotabato confiscated around 6,000 board feet of illegally-cut logs and sliced lumber in a raid they conducted in several mini-sawmills located along the Rio Grande de Mindanao in Kabacan town, around 1030 a.m. Friday.

Supt. Alex Tagum, chief of the Cotabato Public Safety Office of the Cotabato Provincial Police Office (CPPO), led the raid after they received information that the operation of mini-sawmills in Barangay Lumayong, Kabacan had resumed.

These sawmills are believed to be the suppliers of several lumberyards in North Cotabato, including towns of Carmen, Pikit, Kabacan and in Kidapawan City.

Tagum said they failed to arrest any of the operators and workers in the area.

“When the residents saw us coming, they immediately informed the people in the area to vacate the place. We saw them running but we can’t shoot them because that’s not allowed under the law,” said Tagum.

These sawmills were ordered closed in 2011 after the operators could not present to police the necessary permits when they raided the area, Tagum said.

At least 10 sawmills are operating along the Rio Grande de Mindanao, according to reports.

Each sawmill, according to Amor Baniaga, team leader of the forest rangers in Kabacan town, are being operated by at least 10 persons.

The confiscated logs and lumber were made from hardwood species, including naturally-grown Molave and Apitong, and commercial species, including Gemelina, Lawaan, and Falcatta.

Many of these logs, according to Tagum, were from transported Bukidnon province through the Pulangi river system.

“This is one proof why many of our forests had already been deforested. Many are into illegal logging. They cut trees without thinking of the effects to environment,” said Tagum.

Tagum said he received a marching order from Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza to raid all sawmills and against illegal loggers operating in the province.

“This is just a beginning. We won’t stop. We don’t want to experience what the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro experienced last year. This is the reason why there is no let-up in our operations against environmental destruction,” he stressed. (PNA)

DCT/NYP/MCM/jsd

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