NBI seizes P2.4-M worth of wood products made from endangered Mangkono trees

Published August 10, 2021, 6:02 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

National Bureau of Investigation (2)

Over P2.4 million worth of wood products made from the endangered Mangkono trees were seized by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from 12 shops in San Agustin, Surigao Del Sur last Aug. 4.

NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric B. Distor said the wood products were confiscated during a raid conducted by agents of the NBI’s Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD).

Mangkono tree, known as the Philippines’ ironwood, is endemic in the Visayas, Palawan, and northwestern Mindanao. It is valued for its “extremely durable and heavy timber.”

Wood products from endangered Mangkono trees

Armed with a search warrant issued by the Tag-San Miguel municipal circuit trial court, the NBI said the operation “resulted in the seizure of Mangkono and Dipterocarps lumber and flitches, furniture souvenir, and novelty items worth P2,440,156.40.”

“The NBI-EnCD is now preparing charges for violation of R.A. 9147 otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, against the owners of the shops,” it said. The names of the shops and their owners were not disclosed in the NBI statement.

The NBI said the operation was conducted on request of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region XIII for assistance in “the conduct of investigation regarding with the alleged illegal trading of Mangkono (Xanthostemon werdugonianus) finished items.”

NBI-EnCD operatives conducted a surveillance operations in twelve (12) open souvenir/furniture shops in San Agustin, Surgao Del Sur and were able to verify that the owners of the said shops are in possession and control of Mangkono lumber and flitches,” it said.

“The furniture and souvenir items are all made of Mangkono wood and the operatives were able to buy sample items,” it added.