Issue of September 12, 2021
Mt. Province

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NBI, PNP seize P500K worth illegal pine lumber in MP
by Ofelia C. Empian

HOT LUMBER -- State forces led by the National Bureau of Investigation-CAR seized more than 11,500 board feet of pine lumbers worth P500,000 during the serving of search warrant in Sabangan, Mountain Province on Sept. 3 following intelligence report of rampant illegal logging in Data, Sabangan. Charges will also be filed against three suspects. -- NBI-CAR photos

A total of 11,516 board feet of pine lumber and furniture products were seized in Sabangan, Mountain Province during the serving of a search warrant by state forces led by the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera.

The seized forest products worth more than P500,000 were reportedly owned by three individuals, two of whom own a warehouse full of alleged illegal lumber while one runs a furniture shop.

The operation on Sept. 3 came after the NBI-Cordillera conducted surveillance since last month on the illegal activities of the three suspects, whose identities were withheld pending the filing of charges against them.

Earlier, the NBI-Cordillera received an intelligence report of rampant illegal logging in Sabangan, Mountain Province and upon validation, the identities of the three suspects who are residents of Data, Sabangan came about. 

The NBI-Cordillera reported one of the suspects operates a furniture shop and a separate furniture display center, where the materials used are pine lumber while the two more suspects each maintain a warehouse full of pine lumber.

NBI-Cordillera agents Stanley Dalayon, Oscar Mananig, Andrew Bacayan, and Lorenzo Lab-as learned from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera that the suspects were not issued with any tree-cutting permits or clearance to transport forest products.

This prompted the NBI agents to secure four search warrants issued by Benguet Regional Trial Court Branch 64 Judge Daniel Mangallay for the confiscation of the pine lumber in the warehouse and display areas operated by the suspects.

Personnel of the Mountain Province Provincial Police Office, Provincial Mobile Force Company, Sabangan Municipal Police Office, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office and Cenro-Sabangan joined the NBI in serving the search warrants.

The three suspects were not present during the serving of search warrants.

Barangay officials also witnessed the search.

The seized pine lumber were turned over to the Cenro-Sabangan.

Cases for the violation of Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code are being prepared against the three suspects.

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