Philippines: Does illegal logging stop if there’s fewer illegal logging arrests?

If a community environment officer in the northern province of Cagayan
is to be believed, the snippets of good news coming from the
anti-illegal logging front breathes a fresh air of hope to people
fighting for the preservation of the country’s few remaining lush
forest cover. A report from the Community Environment and Natural
Resources Office (Cenro) of Sanchez Mira town have shown that
incidences of timber poaching seemed to have slowed down as evidenced
by the slump in recorded arrests by the local police. Vicente Bayucan,
Cenro head of Sanchez Mira, said the downtrend in the apprehension of
trucks loaded with suspected illegally cut logs plying the northern
parts of the province has fallen to about 90 percent.

In a radio
interview, Bayucan stated that to date, joint efforts by the police
and the illegal logging task force in their area have bagged only
about 1,000 board feet compared to the nearly 10,000 board feet of
poached lumber apprehended in December of last year. “The help of
concerned citizens, local officials and the vigilance of the
anti-illegal logging task force have helped a lot in our campaign
against the proliferation of timber poaching,” said Bayucan, adding
that most of the apprehended trucks loaded with contraband came from
neighboring Apayao province, passing through the town of Pamplona. As
home to one of the country’s remaining and endangered bio-diversity
areas, Cagayan’s forests are guarded only by a handful of forest
rangers thinly spread over a combined area of 476.58 hectares of the
PeƱablanca protected land and seascape and Northern Sierra Madre
Natural Park. “The government cannot solve the problem of illegal
logging without the help of the community, that’s why we are calling
on the people to be more vigilant in helping us fight forest
degradation,” Bayucan appealed.

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