Environment and local officials recently discovered 220 cut mangrove trees on Linda Island in Barangay Caguisan, Narra.
The cut mangrove trees were discovered by a joint inspection team composed of representatives of the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Caguisan barangay officials.
Estephen Gapilango, chair of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) of Caguisan, said they already warned illegal loggers on the island.
“Before, inabisuhan na sila ng barangay at saka ng DENR pero mga iilan lang ‘yong naputol nila so parang hindi ata nagtanda ‘yong mga tao na ‘yon, pinutol, dinamihan pa nila hanggang umabot ng 220 pieces na mangroves,” Gapilango said.
He said the cut mangroves were sold to a foreigner from Thailand by a certain Kenneth Navarro, who manages the island.
Gapilango said the barangay council had already called the attention of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) in Narra regarding the cutting of the mangroves.
“Wala rin kaming nakita na inuuling nila at ‘yong pagkakaalam ko lang ginagawa nila na mga kubo, ganoon kasi pagawaan ata ‘yan ng resort, gagawin resort daw kaya pinagpuputol ‘yong mangroves,” he added.
Gapilango said the cut mangrove trees were recorded a week ago.
“We were shocked by the cutting of the mangrove because they have not received any reports of illegal logging on the island,” Gapilango said.
“Kasi wala pa naman kaming nababalitaan sa barangay na may ganoon karami na pinutol na mangroves dito… mga puno ganoon so parang nagulat din kami sa ganoong eksenang nakita namin… nakakagulat lang kasi may mga tao pa rin pala na gumagawa ng ganito,” he added.
Atty. Nixon Ramirez of the MENRO in Narra said they had reported the initial logging activity to the DENR in January where only few mangrove trees had been cut.
“Noong January pa namin ‘yan na-i-forward sa DENR, ngayon hindi namin alam kung anong action ang ginawa ng DENR kasi sila naman authorized agency na mag-file ng kaso, nag-recommend lang kami,” he said.
He said they conducted a separate inspection on the island on December 27, 2018, and they only saw a few stumps where mangrove trees had been cut compared to the number found on March 12.
Ramirez said he has no idea yet about what happened or what action has been taken regarding their report on illegal mangrove logging on Linda Island.
“Di ba sinabi ko na December 27 pa kami nag-inspection dyan, kaunti pa lang ang napuputol nila. Nakita ko sa Facebook na medyo malapad na. Mga ilang piraso pa lang noon ang nakwan nila dyan… dahil na-forward na namin yong problema sa DENR sila naman ang authorize na mag-file ng kaso dyan, di ko alam kung ano nang nangyari sa DENR,” he added.
Gapilango said the barangay will conduct daily monitoring on Linda Island to ensure that no more illegal logging of mangroves will happen.