Trucks of wood worth P2M to P10M seized-A A +A
Thursday, October 25, 2012
FIVE trucks of lumber that were believed to have been illegally gathered were confiscated in a raid by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday.
They could be worth anywhere from P2.8 million to P10 million, the two agencies said.
The CIDG 7 had received reports that a compound in Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City stocked illegally cut trees.
“We found logs such as narra, kamagong and bayong within the compound,” Delfin Bontuyan of the CIDG 7 confirmed.
Under Executive Order 23, Malacañang suspended the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests. This took effect in February 2011.
Despite that, the operatives in yesterday’s raid found and confiscated the stockpiled items, using a search warrant issued by Judge Rafael Yrastorza of the Regional Trial Court Branch 28 in Mandaue City.
The team from DENR 7 and CIDG 7 estimated the lumber to measure around 12,000 board feet.
In a press statement, DENR officials estimated the stockpiled lumber to be worth about P2.8 million, but CIDG 7 said it could be worth as much as P10 million.
The pile of lumber included tree species that should not be cut, such as kamagong, tindalo, narra, and mancono.
Bontuyan said the hardwood from premium species were reportedly shipped from Surigao, but the CIDG 7 still has to verify this information.
Nolito Lapinig, a DENR team member, said the owner may be held liable for violation of Executive Order 23, which also created the anti-illegal logging task force.
He told Sun.Star Cebu that based on the large sizes of the lumber stockpiled in the warehouse, these were probably gathered in natural forests.
According to the initial report, 19 pieces of flitches for table-making and an estimated 9,000 board feet of lumber with various sizes and species were confiscated.
The security guard could not present any legal document authorizing them to possess the lumber so the search team destroyed the padlock and seized the stock.
Bontuyan said the subject of the search warrant was a certain Jose Yap, the alleged owner of the logs, but he was not there during the raid at 11 a.m. yesterday.
He said that last Oct. 19, they received a tip that an illegal logging business was operating in Paknaan Central Compound.
“Our men went to the area and the information we got was positive. That is why we secured a search warrant,” explained Bontuyan.
He added that Yap was operating without a permit from the DENR.
When the operatives searched the compound, only Yap’s employees were present. Bontuyan said the employees did not even know if they were operating legally.
The confiscated logs will be turned over to DENR 7.
Yap may face a case for violation of Presidential Decree 705, as amended under Republic Act 7161, or the “Act incorporating certain sections of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977, as amended, to Presidential Decree No. 705, as amended,
otherwise known as the Forestry Code of the Philippines.”
That law prohibits the cutting of trees without a permit.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 25, 2012.