The Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) has discovered another area of prison reservation in Sitio Pulang Lupa, Barangay Montible that has been targeted by illegal loggers.
ICF information officer CTO II Levi Evangelista said the area affected was about a kilometer from the site where an illegal charcoal-making activity was found on January 19 affecting more than 10 hectares.
“Bago ‘yan na nadiskubre namin na activity doon. Nagkaroon kami kami ng follow up (monitoring). Nagbakasakali lang kami na meron pa sa loob, tinunton namin ‘yong daan nila na more than two kilometers from the highway,” Evangelista said.
“Naagapan naman natin kaagad bago pa lumala ang sitwasyon doon sa area, sapagkat madalas naman ang monitoring natin ng activity doon particular ang pagkalat ng illegal settlers sa area. Ngunit nong ating baybayin ang maliit na daan pantungo sa likod na hindi kalayuan ay may ibang illegal na activity na nangyayari pala po bukod sa mga kabahayan,” he added.
Based on their initial estimate, the illegally cut trees included old Kamagong, Ipil and Narra.
He said the trees were already more than 80 years old.
“Noong ating puntahan sa ating follow up operation ay may ibang puno pa tayong nakita na itinumba na alam nating mahigpit na ipinagbabawal katulad ng Ipil, Kamagong, at Nara na sa tantya natin ay nasa higit 80 years old na dahil sa laki nito,” he said.
Evangelista also said that the cutting down of trees in the area may not be linked with those involved in charcoal-making which they earlier discovered.
“Pangunahing kahoy kasi pinuntirya nila dito at ginagawang good lumber or furniture,” he said.
The ICF along with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) will revisit the site to identify the variety of trees and conduct an inventory to record the affected land area.
Evangelista said that it is also the directive of superintendent Raul Levita to monitor not only the illegal squatting in ICF premises but also activities such as illegal logging.