City Court fines 11 tree cutters

Posted on August 24, 2011


Trees planted in the hilly lands of barangay Toong and Buhisan were illegally cut by tree cutters (CDN FILE PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)


A Cebu City court fined 11 persons for cutting several trees in a 1.5-hectare protected forest in sitio Kantipla, barangay Tabunan, Cebu City.

Regional Trial Court Judge Douglas Marigomen of Branch 5 ordered the 11 persons to each pay a lower fine of P5,000 after they pleaded guilty to the charge.

They were accused of violating Republic Act 9486 or the act creating the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL).

Conviction of the charge carries a fine of P5,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment of one day to six years or both.

Judge Marigomen, however, dismissed the charges against one of the accused for being a minor.

“After all the accused have paid their respective fines, the receipts of which should be presented to the court to form part of the records of this case,” Marigomen said in an order released yesterday.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by two personnel of retired Gen. Tiburcio Fusilero before Ariel Rica, the CCPL Protected Area superintendent (Pasu), regarding “environmental destructions” that took place in the area.

Last June 11, the 11 accused were arrested by police while cutting and gathering trees in sitio Kantipla, an area within the CCPL.

Authorities confiscated 301 pieces of boyon-boyon trees and 38 pieces of pako with a value of P41,960.

The cut trees, which were two meters tall, had a total volume of 2.414 cubic meters.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources estimated the environmental damage at around P500,000.

They were held liable for “cutting and gathering trees without a permit, collecting by-products, occupying a dwelling, and excavating and destroying natural land formations.”

The accused in the case were Cristituto Quia-ot, Elesio Bacalso, Elizardo Racaza, Florencio Borres, Meling Abendon, Maynard Ababon, Jimmy Epe, Carmelito Fernandez, Juan Compra, Lolita Epe, and Nene Ministerio, and a boy. /By Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Reporter