Monday, August 30, 2010


Police Inspector Christopher Mazo, Lianga's newly installed chief of police, was supposedly warned by some friends not to accompany a team of DENR (Department of the Environment and Natural Resources) personnel who were set to verify allegations of illegal logging operations in the hinterlands of Barangay Diatagon north of the Lianga town proper last August 21. The group was set to conduct an ocular inspection of a quantity of newly cut timber as part of an ongoing probe into the timber cutting operations of SAMMILIA (see previous post), a local cooperative granted a community based forest management agreement by the government.

The DENR inspection activity became necessary after a earlier group composed of local DENR personnel, Lianga local officials and non-governmental representatives had recommended that the cooperative be formally investigated for possible violations of the conditions of its forest management agreement. A shipment of its cut timber at the Diatagon wharf had also been found to have been possibly mis-declared in terms of actual volume and had been earmarked for seizure pending the result of a more thorough probe.

Mazo had been only on the job as chief of the Lianga municipal police station for a couple of days and would probably have been excused for not going but perhaps he was a conscientious man and only wanted to make a good impression on the people of the town. He eventually decided to help escort the DENR team. That decision he paid for with his life.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hot Cargo

Lianga was again in the news on national television a couple of days ago and as usual the bulletin did little to discredit the observation made some years ago to me by an old buddy (also from Lianga but who now resides outside of the country) that every time the town's name gets into the news it is usually about something or some event that paints it and its people in a bad light.

It seems that a investigation team composed of officials from the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the local government of the town and representatives of the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development has recommended that the government block the shipment of a shipload of cut timber in the port of Barangay Diatagon some nine kilometers or so to the north of the town proper. The shipment belonged to the SAMMILIA Federation of Peoples's Forest Development Cooperative which has for some time now taken over part of what was once the vast timber concession area of the defunct Lianga Bay Logging Company.

The team has determined in its surprise inspection of the timber cargo that there are what appears to be serious discrepancies between the record of the official tally and inventory of the said shipment submitted to the government in comparison to the actual volume and measurements of the logs being loaded for shipment. The implication, of course, is that SAMMILIA may have knowingly misrepresented the volume in order to escape legal restrictions on the maximum "allowable cut" it was allowed to make under the law and in order to defraud the local government of its rightful share in the form of taxes and levies.

Friday, August 6, 2010

As I Was Saying

After two months of a forced vacation from this blog, I was more than eager to check where I left off after a series of computer hardware and network problems cut off my regular access to the internet right here in Lianga. For a time I toyed with the idea of updating this blog from other locations or by using other means of going online but I have. over the years, become essentially an old fashoned creature of habit and working online by flitting from one internet shop to another in guerrilla fashion or relying on laptops and other portable devices has never been my kind of thing.

I am and have always been a plodder of sorts even in my blogging. As a result, I have always favored spending a leisurely hour or two pondering on and composing my blog posts directly on the internet and simply tossing off a hurried blog entry on a portable computer or mobile phone was simply something I was never entirely comfortable with doing. I tried blogging that way and it never felt right.

In fact, I miss my old and trusty desktop computer and and the new one that has replaced it while certainly is a lot more faster as well as more reliable (it blazes through while the old one was just content to simply stagger and trot along), it does not have the cantankerous yet whimsical and rather eccentric personality of my old setup which made it seem like more like a collaborator and partner to me than just another sophisticated piece of electronic equipment.