Illegally-cut lumber seized in N. Cotabato-A A +A
Friday, February 22, 2013
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- A truckload of illegally-cut lumber was confiscated by police and environment officials in Makilala, North Cotabato, around 11 p.m. Thursday, reports said.
Makilala municipal environment officer Walter Ruizo said the lumber, mostly from the Lawaan species, were loaded in a government-owned dump truck with license plate SJN 142.
Ruizo was told the logs were cut three weeks ago at Sitio Kapatagan, some seven kilometers away from the center of Barangay Luayon.
Barangay Luayon, data from the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office showed, is a valley southeast of Makilala town and can be reached by traversing Taluntalunan-Dako River, which is "exceptionally a resource-rich watershed."
The wood products, in varied sizes, were loaded along with a stockpile of limestone, Ruizo said
When authorities intercepted the truck along the highway, they were surprised to see Barangay Luayon chief Rable Ramirez on board the vehicle, together with the driver and truck helper.
During the investigation, Ramirez admitted to authorities he knew the cutting of trees in his village.
"What was sad, though, was that the chairman himself has helped transport these wood products using the vehicle the Municipal Government has assigned to him," Ruizo said.
Citing as basis the statement of village chair Ramirez, Ruizo said the lumber was set to be delivered to RNF Summit Woodworking Shop located at Barangay San Vicente, also in Makilala town.
The truck and the timber were placed under the custody of the Makilala police while authorities are readying charges of violation of Forestry Code and Chainsaw Law against Ramirez and two others.
Ruizo said they are also set to file administrative complaints against the village chairman for using a government-owned vehicle in an illegal activity.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 23, 2013.