Illegal logging destroys six has of forest in Lamitan PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 August 2012 14:16

Six hectares of trees were discovered destroyed in the forested area of  Lamitan City, with Abu Sayyaf bandits suspected as the perpetrators.

Following information received by the city government of Lamitan, Mayor Roderick Furigay immediately instructed the Office of City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) to check on mass illegal cutting of trees at the Lamitan watershed in  Upper Arco.

The OCENR, together with soldiers and policemen proceeded to the area to verify the information and were surprised to see that more than six hectares of trees that include mahogany, acacia, gemelina, and narra were destroyed.

The village chief of Barangay Arco, Edgardo Alipio, alleged that a certain Delos Reyes who is a  former member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Basilan allegedly masterminded the cutting of trees in the area together with some alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group from
Sumisip and Tipo-Tipo municipalities.

Barangay Arco sits at the boundary of Lamitan and Sampinit Complex, a known lair of the bandit group

The  Sampinit Complex is a mountain range at the boundaries of Tuburan, Tipo-Tipo, Sumisip, Lantawan, and Maluso towns, and Lamitan and Isabela cities.

During the inspection, authorities made no arrest as no individual was found in the area. The military immediately burned all huts, which possibly served as resting place of the group.

Alipio has requested the Department of Environment and Natural  Resources (DENR) to establish checkpoint or detachment in the area.

“This will prevent lawless group from getting back to the watershed area and continue their illegal activities,” he said.

Sources said the Abu Sayyaf is determined to destroy all trees near the watershed area since they are planning to plant rubber trees. The bandit group also alleged that the reforestation was made in their territory.

Mayor Furigay has directed all agencies to intensify their campaign against illegal logging following a directive from no less than President Benigno Aquino III to curb all illegal logging activities that destroys the forest. — PIA