TACLOBAN CITY – Illegal logging activities in Northern Samar continues amid the health crisis as PHP3.4-million worth of unregistered freshly-cut lumbers were seized by authorities in a week-long operation.
Joint anti-timber operations of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Northern Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company (NSPMFC) from May 4 to 9 resulted in the confiscation of approximately 69,672 board feet of illegally cut logs in Happy Valley village in San Isidro town.
These include assorted lumber and keelboats of hardwood tropical trees, said Maj. Edwin Oloan Jr., 1st NSPMFC commander, in a statement on Tuesday.
“The operations were carried out using a drone camera that showed stockpiles of illegal logs along roadsides and others were covered with coconut palms,” he added.
A certain Arnel Lucban Surio, together with other personalities were seen trying to conceal the stockpile, but eventually scampered to the mountainous area upon recognizing the presence of authorities, the police report said.
“Even in this time that our country is in the midst of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, we will not stop to exercise our sworn duties and responsibilities to fight criminality and terrorism,” Oloan said.
Administrative and criminal charges will be fine against the suspects for violation of Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
The DENR said this is the biggest volume of illegal forest products ever seized in the province.
The law enforcement team were also able to confiscate approximately 39,500 board feet of illegal lumbers with a market value of PHP1.97-million during operations in the same town from April 24 to 26. (PNA)