The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Caraga has started putting barcodes on logs in an attempt to curb illegal logging in the region.

Assistant Sec. Marlo Mendoza said the project started Wednesday in Brgy. Batocan of Talacogon, Agusan del Sur, where trees were harvested and the barcodes supplied by Data World Computer Center were tested.

“We are on a pilot stage but we expect the system would be fully operational next year,” Mendoza said in a statement.

The rectangle-shaped plastic barcodes embedded on each log will be checked by a computer at “forest monitoring points” before the logs are brought to wood processing plants.

Provincial and municipal environment officers have also been given tablet computers that can scan barcodes, according to DENR regional technical director for forest management services Nonito Tamayo.

During Wednesday’s launch, Mendoza, who is also executive director of DENR’s Caraga regional office, placed the first barcode on a felled acacia mangium tree.

Wood from the tree will be used to manufacture coffins, he said.

“This means that we have buried the old system of corruption connected with illegal logging and we are starting a fresh system that hopefully would protect our forest from poachers and log smugglers,” Mendoza said.

Recently, police intensified their campaign against illegal logging in the region, confiscating millions of pesos worth of illegally-cut lumber.

The illegal activity, however, was proven to be still continuing and caught the attention of President Benigno Aquino III.

Six chiefs of police, a provincial police director, and in August, the regional police director were removed from their posts for failing to curb illegal logging. (John Roson)

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