NOVALICHES, QUEZON CITY – Armed with a search warrant, a combined team of operatives from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) swooped into a warehouse here and exposed a stockpile of suspected illegal lumber worth an estimated PhP50 million.
The surprise raid uncovered some 71,000 planks of cut lumber that included such high-value wood species as Narra (Pterocarpus indicus, included in the IUCN Red [Vulnerable] List), Yakal (Shorea astylosa, IUCN [Critically Endangered] list) and Molave (Vitex parviflora, IUCN Red [vulnerable] List).
Lourdes Wagan, the DENR National Capital Region Director, said: “I was really surprised and amazed by the volume of logs deposited and stockpiled. These are really big. The size of one plank was about 1.3 meters in width.”
The warehouse supervisor and a machine operator was taken in for interrogation.
The raid was the culmination of a tip received by NBI in connection with suspected illegal logging activity in Northern Luzon, and the covert transport of the wood products already cut into flitches or smaller pieces, to Manila.
Apparently, the lumber was being moved in limited volume using closed vans, instead of conventional huge trucks, in a bid to evade easy detection.
One of the angles being looked into is the possible collusion of law enforcement authorities deputized to man DENR checkpoints, and/or DENR officials themselves.
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