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Illegally-cut Lauan timber seized In Mount Apo

 • 00:13 AM Sat Jul 4, 2015
Malu C. Manar
(For Illustration purposes only)

KIDAPAWAN CITY - At least a thousand board feet of illegally-sliced Lauan lumber was seized in a watershed area on Mount Apo, in particular in Makilala town in North Cotabato. Engineer Walter Ruizo, municipal environment and natural resources officer (MENRO) of Makilala, said the timber was placed temporarily under the custody of officials of Barangay Batasan, one of the villages considered a watershed owing to its spring falls and several tributaries. The area where illegal logging was monitored is also one of the major sources of safe or potable water being distributed by the Metro Kidapawan Water District to concessionaries in Kidapawan City and towns of Makilala, Magpet, and Matalam. Ruizo identified a certain Gempesaw as the owner of a lot located along the boundary of Barangays Batasan and Buhay where the Lauan trees were believed to have been cut illegally. Initial probe showed that a wildlife enforcer of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO) in North Cotabato was identified as the person in-charge of the illegal logging activities on Mount Apo’s watershed. The enforcer has allegedly connived with some officials of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) operating in Barangay Buhay, according to reports.A certain Sonny Ibrahim of the MNLF was identified as one of them. Ruizo, however, refused to identify them while charges are being readied against them. Ruizo’s office has already coordinated with the MNLF in Kidapawan City to check on the illegal activities of some of their members operating in Makilala town. He said he had initial talks this week with a certain Datu Jamil Patadon of the MNLF Kidapawan-Makilala area. Gempesaw, a businessman from Barangay Batasan, admitted to Ruizo that the permit he secured from the LGU was only for the cutting of Mango trees in his lot, which he intends to use for the repair of his house. Yet, when the barangay officials of Barangay Batasan checked Gempesaw’s place, they saw Lauan trees being sliced and ready for delivery,” said MENRO head. In fact, Ruizo said, a truckload of Lauan lumber was already transported last week to a supplier in M’lang town, also in North Cotabato. Ruizo said that charges against Gempesaw, DENR employee, and MNLF combatants are being prepared by his office. Also included in the charge sheet are the chainsaw operator, those who actually cut the trees, and others. Ruizo said that Lauan, hardwood specie,is important in protecting watershed areas and potential in reforestation and agro-forestry. But cutting of Lauan trees has become source of income of many unscrupulous residents in Makilala town. According to Ruizo, the Lauan’s trunk is used for furniture and cabinet-making, veneer and plywood, pulp and paper-making, particleboard manufacture, sash and mill work, boat planking and decking, and general building construction. Its bark, he added, is considered to have great potential for use as building board. He said buyers of Lauan lumbers are coming from sawmill and wood industries located in Makilala, M’lang, Matalam, and other areas in North Cotabato and in Davao provinces.

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