By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Hinoba-an Mayor Ernesto Estrao recently confirmed there is no more illegal logging in the locality, following a raid at an illegal logging site in the town’s Barangay Damutan earlier this year.
Estrao said they have taken action over the issue and assigned several of their personnel, alongside officials from the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO).
He pointed out, around 30 members of Bantay Lasang, a volunteer force that guards the forest, were recently trained and are presently working on partnering with other government agencies in order to give them additional livelihood.
Estrao said around 150 hectares of forest remains from the original 3,000 hectares earlier maintained by the now-defunct Insular Lumber Company.
He also stated they identified the suspects who fled during the raid and confirmed they are residents of neighboring Negros Oriental.
However, the mayor noted the suspects might have been working for a bigger individual and were not aware the area they were logging was a protected reserve.
Earlier this year, police and officials from the Provincial Legal Office raided an illegal logging site in the said town.
During the raid several century-old lauan trees were confiscated.
Following the raid, Estrao offered a P10,000 bounty to anyone who could identify those responsible for the illegal logging incident./DGB, WDJ