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Governor still resents DENR illegal logging report

Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado
Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado

Daet Camarines Norte (June 24, 2011) — The Governor of this province is still sore about a report by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional anti-logging task force that Camarines Norte is one of two Bicol provinces tagged as “hot bed” of illegal logging.

Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado reiterates that DENR executive regional director Joselin Marcus Fragada should have checked with his DENR provincial officer the real situation of timber theft at the Bicol National park portion of this province.

Fragada earlier made public that illegal logging activities remained unchecked in some 22,000 hectares of forest lands of the province of Camarines Norte and in the forested areas of the island province of Catanduanes.

Tallado explained during talks with newsmen this week that since the time he assumed the office the governor in 2009 (after winning an electoral protest), a provincial task force on illegal logging that he created,, which included the DENR, have confiscated more than 50,000 board-feet of illegally-cut timber mostly abandoned in forested areas in the towns of Basud and Daet.

It is true that illegal logging was rampant during the term of the previous provincial government, but the task force that he created have stopped illegal logging, the Governor said, hinting that the DENR report might have been ante-dated.

The Governor also said, that he is worried that the DENR’s unconfirmed report on illegal logging might have reached President Aquino. He emphasized that he had ordered an anti-logging drive even before the President issued an executive order back in February this year declaring a moratorium on logging in the country.

On other subjects, Tallado revealed that the conflict among rival mining concessioners in Jose Panganiban fighting over mining territorial rights on iron-ore have been brought to court. Recently, thousands of metric-tons of extracted iron-ore bound for China remain impounded at a port in Jose Panganiban after a freeze order were issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC), he said.

Tallado noted that apprehensions on illegal logging has dwindled only in comparison with arrests related to illegal drugs. Atleast 6 towns of the province have been cleared of illegal drug trade, said the governor.(SONNY SALES)