ARMM schools to benefit from impounded smuggled forest products

Climate Change/Environment • Sat Mar 11, 2017 07:06 PM  •  71   0
By John Unson
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The seized “hot lumber,” now stockpiled at the municipal center of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao. JOHN UNSON
The seized “hot lumber,” now stockpiled at the municipal center of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao. JOHN UNSON
MAGUINDANAO -- Authorities have earmarked 18,000 board feet of confiscated lumber for classroom desks in public schools in municipalities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The “hot lumber,” impounded in a series of operations the past 16 weeks by the police, the military and local officials in Datu Blah Sinsuat town in Maguindanao, were smuggled from rainforests in nearby hinterlands.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-ARMM is now in custody of the forest products.

Hadji Kahal Kedtag, regional secretary of DENR-ARMM, on Friday said those behind the thwarted smuggling of forest products from Datu Blah Sinsuat and from the towns of Lebak and Kalamansig in Sultan Kudarat will be summoned for an adjudication process.

“Certainly they will not appear in our office because they poached these forest products without valid permits. The confiscated 18,000 board feet of lumber shall eventually be utilized for school chairs and desks to be distributed in ARMM public schools,” Kedtag said.

Kedtag said he is grateful to the mayor of Datu Blah Sinsuat, Raida Tomawis-Sinsuat, for actively helping enforce Philippine forestry laws in all of the eleven barangays under her jurisdiction.

A big bulk of the lumber now stockpiled in the compound of the Datu Blah Sinsuat municipal government center were from Lebak and Kalamansig, both in Region 12, intercepted by local authorities while in transit along the territorial seacoast of Maguindanao.

“The DENR-ARMM is thankful to the local government unit of Datu Blah Sinsuat for actively supporting our campaign against poaching of forest products in protected watersheds,” Kedtag said.

He said ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman has a standing order for DENR-ARMM to utilize seized forest products for projects needed to hasten the education thrusts of the regional government. 
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