Bishop urges gov’t to stop illegal logging in Basilan

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MANILA, Sept. 11, 2012— A Catholic bishop appealed on the government to look into the “rampant illegal logging” in the watershed of Lamitan City, Basilan.

Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad said the government should protect the watershed from any encroachment and other illegal activities that would compromise the 13-hectare forest reserve.

“This is alarming. We are hoping that this will be stopped. We are calling on our provincial officials to send people that will investigate this matter,” Jumoad said.

The bishop said many people are also afraid that the illegal cutting of trees may cause flash floods in Basilan province.

He also called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to intervene on the issue to stop further damage of the areas particularly in the villages of Arko and Libertad Lomoton.

“We are already very concerned about this because we already have a problem here on flooding and now there’s illegal logging,” added Jumoad.

“So I am calling again the attention of DENR and the ARMM provincial government… I hope that they will investigate these illegal logging activities,” he said.

Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay earlier said that at least six hectares of the watershed in Brgy. Arco alone were found to have been denuded.

According to him, they already have requested the DENR to secure the area by building a detachment to stop the illegal logging.

Furigay said a local investigation is also ongoing to prosecute those behind the illegal activity.  [RL/CBCPNews]

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