CATARMAN, Northern Samar – The continuous forest operation by the joint forces of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Northern Samar and the Philippine Army led to the seizure of P3,483,628.10 worth of assorted sizes of lumber and boat keels.

The operation was the second of the series focusing in San Isidro being the number one hot spot area of Northern Samar, aimed at catching big-time violators and seize cut forest products particularly in kilometers 17, 18, 15, 14 and 9 of Barangay Happy Valley, San Isidro, Northern Samar.

The first was on April 24-26 where the team was able to seize 39,500.75 board feet of assorted lumber worth more than P 1.9 Million.

“This is the biggest volume of illegal forest products ever seized in Northern Samar,” said DENR Provincial Officer Angelito B. Villanueva.

“We undergo tremendous planning, strategies and coordination with the provincial government leadership through Governor Edwin Ongchuan, Commanding Officer of 43IB Philippine Army LtC Raymundo Picut, Jr., PNP Provincial Director PCol Reynaldo Dela Cruz with Mobile Force PMaj Edwin Oloan, PENRO and CENRO in implementing the ‘San Isidro Battle Plan’ so as to ensure success of the operation,” PENRO Villanueva informed.

The four-day dispatched resulted to the recovery of numbers of embankments and stockpiles of illegal lumber along the roadsides concealed with coconut tree palms which accounted to 69, 672.65 board feet of lumbers and boat keels in assorted sizes.

All recovered lumber were hauled for temporary safekeeping to the 1st Northern Samar Police Mobile Force Company (NSPMFC) based in Barangay Salvacion of the said town.

“Even in these times that our country is on the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, we will not stop to exercise our sworn duties and responsibilities to fight criminality and terrorism,” said PMaj Oloan of the 1st NSPMFC.

In an interview, PENRO Villanueva disclosed seven towns of Northern Samar where illegal tree poaching is active. (ADiaz/PIA-Northern Samar)