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P1.8-Million Illegal Forest Products Seized

LEGAZPI CITY - More than P1.8 million worth of illegal forest products were confiscated in the Bicol region last year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here reported.

DENR Bicol regional executive director Oscar M. Hamada said that a total of P93,014.204 board feet of forest products were seized in Bicol in 2002, with Catanduanes province having the biggest volume apprehended, followed by Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. Masbate had the least forest products seized.

Hamada said 29 conveyances (trucks, jeepneys, vans, pump boats) and equipment used in the illegal trade were also confiscated, while 21 cases were filed in various courts against violators of forestry laws, rules and regulations.

On the same period, 16,646 22 board feet of lumber were disposed of to target beneficiaries for developmental projects.

Hamada said forest production and law enforcement was being carried out through monitoring/surveillance of illegal forestry activities in "hotspot" areas; sport checking and instituting measures such as cancellation of permits, and filing of charges against lumber dealers, furniture shop owners and other forest users for violating forestry laws.

The seizure of the "hot" forest products and conveyances was effected with the assistance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies, Hamada added.