MANILA – Philippine National Police Chief, General Debold Sinas, on Wednesday ordered to intensify police operations against illegal mining and logging activities in Cagayan Valley after floods devastated the region due to the onslaught of recent typhoons
“Sa kautusan ni Gen. Sinas to ensure yung mga ganyang violations of environmental laws mabigyan pansin. From the level of Chief of PNP, yung illegal logging part yan na discuss sa national headquarters (General Sinas ordered to look into illegal logging activities after a meeting at the PNP national headquarters),” PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen Ildebrandi Usana told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview.
He said the PNP will not hesitate to stop these activities if existing environmental laws are violated.
Usana said Police Regional Office (PRO) 2 Director, Brig. Gen. Crizaldo Nieves, has implemented measures by conducting an investigation in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
”We will be working with DENR as the premier enforcer sa nangyayari sa bundok (on activities in the forest) like illegal mining and logging. And this is implemented by police by conducting checkpoints,” he said.
DENR foresters, he said, monitor illegal logging activities.
Nieves said the PNP is serious in the anti-illegal logging campaign since February 2020 and has confiscated 177,000 board feet of illegal logs worth more than PHP5 million.
He added a total of 322 operations were conducted resulting in the arrest of 404 persons including three police officers and are now facing charges of violation of Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Anti-Illegal Logging Law.
“Hindi lang illegal logging ang cause ng pagbaha , but maraming factors isa na dito mga (Aside from illegal logging, there are other factors that cause floods like) tributaries leading to Cagayan River, long term rainfall that causes saturation of the soil, and not properly silted rivers. Illegal logging, since I assumed 4 months ago, is being addressed strictly with DENR. We created a task force composed of all law enforcement agencies,” Nieves said in a separate interview with reporters. (PNA)