CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police Region 13 (PNP-13) reported that illegal logging has persisted in Caraga this year, as they had apprehended 178 persons and seized illegally cut forest trees worth P6.2 million.

The figures were based on records of the PNP-13 Regional Operations Management Division in the 236 operations they conducted in the first half of this year.

The records however did not show the number of suspects convicted and charges filed against them. PNP-13 spokesperson Major Renel Serrano has yet to answer queries as of this posting.

Brigadier General Joselito Esquivel Jr., PNP-13 regional director, said the anti-illegal campaign was in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Caraga.

Esquivel said the joint team of DENR-13 and PNP-13 has led to the confiscation of 160,013.09 board feet of lumber and logs, aside from the 5,115 flitches and 10 rattan poles that were seized during its operations.

“We ensure the protection and conservation of our natural resources so our strict enforcement of the environmental laws remains relentless. I urge the cooperation of the people and all stakeholders in our anti-illegal logging operations to keep our substantial gains on the ground,” Esquivel said.

The number of apprehensions, he said, will “send a strong message to illegal loggers to adhere to the environmental laws or else be caught by the long arm of the law.”

The PNP-13 also arrested three persons who were allegedly caught transporting about 1,118 broad feet of sawed bay-ang and lauan wood estimated to be worth P25,000 in Barangay Basa, Trento town, Agusan del Sur on July 19.

Esquivel said the suspects were charged with violation of the Republic Act 460, a law regulating the operation of sawmills, and Presidential Decree 705, the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, which also cited the cutting, gathering and collecting of timber and other forest product without a license and permit.(

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