A total of 13 individuals have been arrested last month for the possession of P4.5 million worth of illegally-cut premium wood species during three separate operations conducted in Valenzuela City and Bulacan, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported on Wednesday, Oct. 6.
In its report, the DENR said two individuals were caught on Sept. 19 in Norzagaray, Bulacan for the illegal sale of 27 flitches of teak wood and seven flitches of kamagong, worth around P35,750.
Two days prior, the agency also caught five individuals in Guiguinto, Bulacan in possession of 24 molave flitches, worth P424,850. The contraband was found inside two luxury vans where the suspects, who were residents of Ifugao, were boarded.
On Sept. 22, six individuals were arrested in Barangay Parada in Valenzuela after the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (AILTF) held a buy-bust operation and confiscated from them 33 flitches of undocumented narra, yakal, molave, and mahogany, which measured 3,503 board feet and was valued at P4 million. The suspects are now detained at the Valenzuela City Police Station.
DENR Undersecretary for Protected Areas and Special Concerns Edilberto Leonardo said the confiscation of the undocumented forest products was pursuant to an executive order declaring a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and Residual forests. It was also pursuant to the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
President Duterte directed the revival of the AILTF, now headed by Leonardo, on Jan. 30, 2021 following a “widespread flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses in November last year,” DENR said.
All confiscated logs were already turned over to the DENR, the agency added.