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MANILA, Philippines -- Despite a logging ban ordered by President Benigno Aquino III, authorities seized illegal forest products in Surigao del Norte and del Sur provinces over the past two days.
Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr., Philippine National Police spokesman, said local police and environment officials seized illegal 14.83 cubic meters of Lauan logs, valued at more than P84,000, and 1,1811.11 board feet of Yakal worth more than P42,000 that were abandoned in Sitio Nayholm, Barangay Ugoban, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur on Thursday.
The next morning, a multi-cab vehicle carrying 36 pieces of Narra lumber was intercepted at the junction of Barangay Poblacion in San Francisco town, Surigao del Norte.
The driver, Warlito dela Pena, was taken into police custody.
Last week, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo warned local officials of areas where logging operations continue of stiff penalties for failing to enforce Executive Order No. 23, which Aquino issued in April last year.
Section 2 of EO 23 provides for “a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests of the entire country is hereby declared unless lifted after the effectivity of this Executive Order.”
The order also prompted the PNP to adopt a one-strike policy, under which area commanders will be axed if they fail to stop illegal logging.
“It is the local chief executives’ statutory duty to enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the LGU and the exercise of its corporate powers, including the presidential directive on the total log ban,” Robredo said last week.