Orders DENR to go after officials engaged in illegal logging
By ARIEL P. AVENDAÑO published in Manila Bulletin on August 16, 2007
DINGALAN, Aurora – Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo issued yesterday a stern warning to local officials against engaging in illegal activities.
The governor was reacting to reports that at least three newly elected officials are attempting to assemble a mobile mini bandsaw mill in Barangay Paltic here.
A mobile mini band sawmill is a movable equipment being used by smugglers in processing flitches of illegally cut logs.
Its use is intended to conceal the illegal activities and avoid detection by personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Castillo, who inspected the area where a footbridge is to be constructed over Langawan River, directed provincial environment chief Benjamin Miña and district environment head Meliton Vicente to run after local officials who are engaged in illegal logging.
The visibly irked governor said that she will help in the prosecution of any local official who is found to engage in any illegal activities.
"There are no sacred cows in my administration," Castillo said, hinting that the concerned local officials, were her partymates in the recent election.
Earlier, Castillo stopped the transport of at least two trucks loaded with hundreds of sacks of charcoal, after she noted that the owners have no pertinent document covering the shipiment.
Reiterating her policy against illegal logging, gambling, and drugs, Castillo said she was embarrassed by the involvement of some local officials here in controversies in the previous years.
These had caused a black mark in the image of the province, she said.
She was referring to the cases involving some local officials here.
One such case is about the involvement of then town mayor Jaime Ylarde in the murder of a weekly newspaper pubisher.
In August last year, then councilor, now Vice Mayor Edgar Liu was implicated in the operation of a multi-million-peso shabu laboratory in Barangay Butas na Bato here which was raided by the authorities.
Liu admitted having brokered for the acquisition of the lot where the shabu lab was built in behalf of four Chinese nationals who were arrested during the raid.
Also last year, town Councilor Majalia Tabanguil nearly got killed when her car met an accident while tailing a cargo truck loaded with a huge volume of lumber.
"I will not allow the development which is now taking place in the province to be tarnished by the wrongdoings of corrupt local officials," Castillo said, reporting that economic growth is now beginning to be felt here.
She also noted the inclusion of Aurora in the as sites of special economic zone which was mentioned in the state-of-thenation address of President Arroyo last month.