The Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) has increased its visibility within the premises of the prison managed area and has stepped up on plans to stop illegal activities within its jurisdiction.
This, following the discovery of new charcoal kilns and cut logs in Kilometer 31, Barangay Sta. Lucia.
Information officer CTO II Levi Evangelista said their visibility would also help to protect the area where one of the water supply sources of the city is located.
Evangelista said the ICF team, with the help of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) discovered the two charcoal kilns after the report reached their office.
“Dalawang planta ‘yong nakita natin doon na may tambak na malalaking piles ng logs at indication na ang ginagamit nila ay chainsaw talaga. Ito ay patuloy pa rin ang ating operation. Ilan na ‘yong na-discover natin na ulingan diyan pero dahil sa ating continuous na operation, hindi man natin nahuli, ang mahalaga rito ay ‘yong visibility ng ating operatives, ng IPPF na hindi nagpapabaya, nandiyan sa area,” he said.
“Bagama’t sabi nga na hindi ito ‘yong mandato natin, ‘yong safeguarding and rehabilitation ng ating mga inaalagaang bilanggo, but then kapag may mga information o report na ganyan ay agad naman natin itong binibigyang pansin,” he added.
About 30 to 50 pieces of logs were also found in the area to be used for charcoal production. Due to series of illegal activities discovered in different barangays covered by ICF, the prison management also invites law enforcement agencies to apprehend individuals involved in activities such as illegal logging and charcoal making.
The ICF has observed that illegal activities are rampant from Kilometer 31 to 37, which is also posing a threat to the wildlife. Those trees that were illegally logged are believed to come from the old-growth forest, Evangelista said.
“Sa dami ng na-i-report natin, gaanon karami ang nag-i-illegal diyan. Iyong patuloy na pagpa-patrolling natin. Gumagawa rin tayo ng strategy ngayon, pinag-aaralan na natin,” he said.
“Ang coordination naman natin sa local government agencies concerned diyan ay patuloy. Ang ginagawa natin diyan ay manghuhuli na talaga tayo, kung kailangan natin tulugan ang area, kailangan natin mag-invite ng other law enforcement agencies ay gagawin nang sa ganoon ay may ma-sample-lan naman,” he added.
The ICF also discovered 10-hectare land damage in Kilometer 31, due to the activities like charcoal making and upland farming in the month of April. The individuals who were seen in the area presented themselves as farmer-members of SMZSLPPC, Inc. or Samahan ng Magsasaka ng Zigzag, Sta. Lucia, at Luzviminda PPC, Inc.