DENR seizes P13-M worth of forest goods in Zambo

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has seized a total of almost 86,000 board feet of forest products estimated to be worth P13.4 million from timber poachers and illegal sawmills operating in the Zamboanga peninsula.

It was the result of a series of raids conducted by Task Force DENR Enforcers Metro Manila (TF-DEMM) from August 18 to September 8.

TF-DEMM was formed by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu with the task of ensuring strict implementation of environmental laws and regulations, and go after environmental offenders in the National Capital Region.

But Cimatu later on expanded the coverage of the task force to a nationwide scale, allowing it to tap DENR regional officials and personnel across the country to make sure complaints brought before them are swiftly addressed.

TF-DEMM executive director Jed Motus said the task force acted on intelligence reports that a licensed sawmill in Misamis Occidental was processing “hot” logs from timber poachers operating in Mt. Malindang, and sightings of illegal portable sawmills, locally called “bansuhan,” in Zamboanga del Norte.

Motus said the task force raided four sites where contraband were confiscated due to “spurious or absence of transport documents from its origin, and misdeclaration as to the type of tree species as contained in the Certificate of Timber or Lumber Origin.”

“There is no let up in DENR’s campaign against violators of environmental laws,” he said.

He assured the agency is strictly monitoring illegal transport of forest products in close coordination with law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and called on the public to report to his office any kind environmental crime at 755-3300 local 1209, 0917-136-7823 and 0999-516-2315 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

On August 18, the task force intercepted some P12 million worth of wood shipment at the Port of Looc in Plaridel upon the discovery of lawaan wood, an indigenous tree species banned for cutting, concealed in the 32 crates of documented lumber about to be shipped to Mandaue City.

The owner of the seized shipment, with a total volume 46,735 bd. ft., was traced to Avic Jaka Enterprises (AJK), a mini-sawmill operating in Calamba town in Misamis Occidental and whose license is issued to Calamba Vice Mayor Antonio Lawas.

Citing intelligence reports, Motus said poachers transport illegally-cut logs by rafting them through the Langaran River which runs downstream through the northeastern part of Mount Malindang National Park.

The entire shipment was seized in violation of Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order No. 277, Series of 1987, which prescribes the inclusion of machinery, equipment, implements and tools illegally used in the seizure of undocumented forest products.

The shipment was consigned to Cebu Universal Lumber Co. Inc. and was scheduled to reach the town of Subangko in Mandue City on August 19.

Covered by the Certificate of Lumber Origin (CLO) for the shipment were 6,106 pieces of flacata, mahogany, manguim, marang, and santol lumber.

CLO refers to the document the DENR issues to accompany the shipment or transport of lumber, showing the number of pieces, species volume, place of loading, conveyance used, date of transport, its source and its consignee.

The three-week operation also yielded the seizure of some 8,480 bd. ft. of illegally-cut timber, valued at P424,000, and the apprehension of a certain Venancio Cueno who was caught illegally cutting trees inside the ancestral domain of the Subanen Tribe in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte on September 1.

The task force likewise seized the 6x6 truck and a mini backhoe found inside Cueno’s property, where the hot logs were discovered.

On September 3, the TF-DEMM—with support from the 42nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the local police— intercepted abandoned hot logs worth P437,000 while awaiting transport at a coastal area of Barangay Panganuran in Subuco, Zamboanga del Norte.

The logs, consisting of yakal, red and white lawaan with a total volume of 19,000 bd. ft. were classified as threatened wood species and are banned for cutting under DENR Administrative Order 2007-01 issued on January 22, 2007.

Another contraband, measuring 11,668 bd. ft of undocumented gmelina and mahogany lumber valued at P583,397, was seized by TF-DEMM on September 4. It also confiscated three units of portable bandsaws owned a certain Llyod Llorente at Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte. ### 

Cimatu: PH never wavered in commitment to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu proudly announced that the Philippines has always been in full compliance with the Montreal Protocol since it ratified in 1991 the global agreement to protect the ozone layer from chemicals referred to as ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

According to Cimatu, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is considered as one of the most successful multilateral environmental agreements in history because it enjoys the full support and cooperation of countries like the Philippines.

“The Montreal Protocol has 197 state signatories, and I can say that the Montreal Protocol owes its success to countries like the Philippines, that for three decades, has been consistently cooperative and compliant to the targets and schedules it set to phase out ODS around the world,” Cimatu said in his opening message, which read by Undersecretary Jonas Leones during the annual Technical Forum on the Promotion of Alternative Substances and Natural Refrigerants for Ozone Layer and Climate Protection held in Quezon City last Friday.

In 1987, the Philippines joined the rest of the world in adopting the landmark global agreement to protect the ozone layer by stopping the production and consumption of ODS. Four years later, in 1991, the country successfully completed the ratification of the Montreal Protocol.

Cimatu said that from 1991 to 2010, the country has fulfilled its commitment of phasing out the first batch or group of ODS in the manufacturing and servicing sectors.

In 1996, the Philippines phased out carbon tetrachloride or CTC and methyl chloroform. After three years, it ended the production and consumption of halon, a chemical compound formerly used in firefighting.

Also in 1999, the country phased out chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) variants—CFC-13, CFC-114, CFC-115—used in various industries as refrigerant, propellant, solvent and cleaning agent.

Appliances, such as refrigerators and airconditioners, using CFC-11 were totally banned in 2005. Non-quarantine pre-shipment methyl bromide was phased out in 2009, while cars having airconditioners with CFC-12 were prohibited to be registered since January 2010.

Cimatu said the Philippines is currently focused on phasing out the supposed last batch or group of ODS—the hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFCs, which phaseout schedule spans for 27 years from 2013 to 2040.

“Nevertheless, the country has made good with its implementation and has complied with the 10 percent import reduction since 2015, a target set to be achieved up to year 2019,” Cimatu said.

Every year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources—through its Environmental Management Bureau—organizes a technical forum to give stakeholders and partners updates on the latest developments in the Montreal Protocol.

The annual forum, held recently in observation of International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, also serves as a venue to learn the status of the country’s implementation of the ODS Phaseout Program.

During the forum, experts on the field presented the different alternatives to HCFC use, particularly in refrigeration, airconditioning, foam blowing, fire suppression and servicing.

There was also discussion on the significant development in the Montreal Protocol, which is the Kigali Amendment that was adopted by the parties to the original protocol in 2016 in the African state of Rwanda.

The Kigali Amendment aims to bring about a global phase down of poweful greenhouse gases hydroflourocarbons or HFCs, which could also mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. ### 

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