Lanao task force in custody of 52 truckloads of lumbers PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 14 January 2012 15:58

The Army-led anti-crime Task Force Ranao is now in custody of  52 truckloads of timbers, flitches and lumbers seized from poachers in continuing anti-illegal logging operations in Lanao del Sur that started three weeks ago.

Col. Daniel Lucero, commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade and concurrent Task Force Ranao chief, reported to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officer-in-charge Mujiv Hataman, during a conference here Thursday that they are also to file next week criminal charges against five loggers that operated in watersheds in Lanao del Sur.

The military’s crackdown on loggers in Lanao del Sur was part of the ARMM governor’s enforcement, after he assumed office last month, of a total ban of cutting of forest trees in the province and in all other component areas of the autonomous region.

“If we can have our way, we want these forest products utilized for the construction of schools in Lanao del Sur,” Lucero said.

He said the government can also use the seized lumbers for chairs of students in Madarish (Islamic) schools in far-flung areas in the province.
Lucero said Army checkpoints along highways crisscrossing several towns around Lake Lanao have been imposing a “no travel policy” for all vehicles loaded
with forest products either from the timberlands, or on their way to sawmills in municipal centers and in the neighboring cities of Marawi and Iligan.

“This is being done in coordination with the office of the ARMM governor, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Lanao del Sur provincial police,” Lucero said.

Lucero said investigators are now wrapping up their documentation on illegal logging cases to be filed against the five loggers that operated in the province.

Hataman has cancelled all logging permits covering areas in Lanao del Sur and licenses to transport logs and lumber from forested areas in the province to any part of the country issued by the former regional natural resources secretary.

The ARMM’s former natural resources secretary has not responded yet to an official invitation last month by Hataman for a dialogue on illegal logging activities in Lanao del Sur.

About 80 percent of the forested areas in Lanao del Sur comprise the watershed for Lake Lanao, the country’s largest, whose downstream flow propels several state-owned hydro-electric plants that supply about three-fourths of Mindanao’s power needs. — Felix Ostrea