By Mike Crismundo
CAMP COLONEL RAFAEL C. RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City – Police and environmental authorities seized 1, 046 board feet of illegally-cut Tuog and Bantangali lumber, both restricted tree species, during anti-illegal logging operations in Agusan and Surigao del Sur Tuesday, the regional command of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) said.
PRO 13 Regional Director Chief Supt. Noli A. Romana said the no non-sense anti-illegal logging drive arrested five suspects identified as Cesar B. Loreto, Dante A. Villanueva, Rustom A. Zapanta, Arcelito Bahalla and Elmer S. Elbaldoni, all of legal age.
“They (suspects) were caught red-handed by authorities transporting the lumber,” alleged the region’s police chief.
The suspects were brought to the apprehending police stations for documentation in preparation for the filing of charges for violation of PD No. 705 otherwise known as the Forestry Code of the Philippines, Chief Supt. Romana said.
“The confiscated forest products are now placed under the custody of Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Offices in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur,” he said.
The joint operation of personnel from Prosperidad Municipal Police Station (MPS) of Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO), Tago and Bayabas Municipal Police Stations (MPSs) of Surigao del Sur PPO and Department of Environment and Natural Resources stemmed from a tip of a concerned citizen that resulted in the apprehension of the illegally-cut forest products and the suspects, Chief Supt. Romana added.
The region’s police chief urged the public to adhere to environmental laws and help the authorities in preserving the remaining forest in Caraga region.