QUIRINO – Two trucks and two vans carrying illegally cut wood were intercepted by personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and elements of the 56th Infantry Battalion in Nagtipunan, Quirino early Wednesday.
Nine persons believed to be involved in illegal logging activities were arrested, identified as Benigno dela Cruz, 53; Ben Kindipan, 27; Johnson Tugunan, 27; Janjan Lunag, 20; Efren Dave Calano, 19; Delmar Lunag, 19; Juda Tugunan, 18; Carlito Oja, 49; and a minor identified as "Johnson" (not his real name).
According to Claire Bermosa, CENRO of Nagtipunan, the two trucks carrying common hardwood were spotted by troops of the 56th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army at the boundary of Quirino and Aurora province, particularly at Brgy Disimungal.
The soldiers became suspicious of the truck’s contents, which were covered completely in tarp.
The illegally cut wood, it was learned, was supposed to be taken to Maddela town in Quirino.
“Walang maipakitang dokumento ang siyam na katao na sakay ng dalawang trak kaya sila ay inaresto,” Bermosa said.
The arrested suspects refused to give a statement.
Just moments later, two vans carrying narra and molave flitches were also seized by DENR personnel and soldiers of the Philippine Army in Barangay Dipantan.
Authorities chased the van but the suspects were able to elude arrest. Also recovered inside the vans were a number of loose plate numbers.
According to Bermosa, the DENR is still in the process of investigating the owners of the trucks and vans and to whom the illegally cut wood were supposed to be delivered.
The suspects will be charged with violation of Presidential Decree 705.
-- Report from Darlene Gemino, ABS-CBN News Cagayan Valley