CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – Army soldiers confiscated illegally cut logs in landslide-prone Catanduanes yesterday, a military report said.
LtCol Danilo Aquino, Commander of the 83rd Infantry Battalion, said that he sent a platoon of his soldiers to conduct checkpoint operations in three different villages after receiving a text message from a concerned resident.
“I dispatched my soldiers under First Lieutenant Vincent Bangal at around 7:00am yesterday (July 25) in order to apprehend the illegal loggers who were reported to be in the act of transporting the illegally-cut logs from the upland villages of Hicming, Bigaa and San Isidro---all of Virac town,” said Aquino.
Aquino said that due to the presence of ‘spotters’ the illegal loggers were able to evade arrest, leaving behind their illegally-cut trees along the road.
Soldiers were able to account 876 board feet of timber, 1 motorcycle and 5 bicycles which were hastily abandoned by the fleeing illegal loggers.
The chief of the local environment office, Mr Ben Medel, also came to inspect the confiscated illegal logs. Medel has asked the assistance of the 83rd IB in carrying out checkpoint operations and arrests of illegal loggers in the hinterlands of the island province.
Aquino said that he has committed to support the anti-illegal logging campaign by PENRO-Catanduanes.
“I had been briefed about the past landslides in the province attributed to the rampant cutting of trees. Soldiers must become part of the solution to this problem to ensure that unnecessary casualties will be incurred among the residents in low-lying areas in this province”, he said.
In December 2008, massive landslides, brought about by continuous heavy rains, blocked the Virac-Vega Road section in San Miguel town, stranding the residents of the town for many days.