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Butuan City--Local government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said he had previously requested the relief of government employees who supposedly allowed illegally-cut logs to pass through a monitoring station.
Robredo already asked Environment Secretary Ramon P. Paje to remove the personnel after they allowed 4,236 pieces of illegally-cut Lawaan logs to pass through unchecked, he said in a during a press conference at the Butuan City Hall on Tuesday.
He also asked that the involved personnel under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) be investigated, Robredo said.
“As I have said, all the personnel in the checkpoint should be relieved. And immediately act on it so that the people will see that we are serious with this,” Robredo said.
“I also asked Caraga Regional Police Chief Superintendent Reynaldo Rafal to locate the barangays where these logs were cut; what municipality it was cut, then we will ask explanation from the Barangay Captain, Mayor and the police why it happened in the jurisdiction,” he added.
Those involved will not be let off the hook, Robredo said, saying that the "total log ban which was mandated by the President is non-negotiable."
Based on an investigation, the logs, which came from La Paz town, were transported to Loreto, where the DENR keeps a monitoring station. From Loreto, the logs were then allowed to proceed to Talacongon, then below the bridge of Talacogon heading to Esperanza, and then to in Las Nieves before heading for Butuan City.
“We will immediately act in finding where exactly (barangays) did these logs came from. I’ll be sending our personnel to gather data and investigate the situation on the ground as asked by secretary Robrero. Then all of these information will immediately be reported to the secretary,” said a certain P/Supt. Rafal.
Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr., led the raid and confiscated what was initially thought to have been 2,400 pieces of logs towed across the Agusan River heading for Butuan City last June 3, 2012.
The log count increased as authorities discovered thousands more hidden underneath the floating bonded logs reaching to 4,236 pieces worth P4 million pesos.
The DENR-Caraga Regional Executive Director Leonardo Sibbaluca claimed that their office first knew about the logs being transported and the effort to be a joint operation between the LGU.
They also said that they informed the city’s police public safety unit who lead the raid.
Unfortunately, Robredo believed that Mayor Amante should be the one who should receive the credit for the operation and that it should be replicated by other LGU executives in the region.
For one week, media practitioners questioned the DENR for having contradicting claims with that of the city mayor.
Amante pointed out that during the confiscation, he was surprised how the logs was able to pass through all the DENR monitoring check points located beside the river encompassing four municipalities. InterAksyon.com