MANILA— Philippine National Police Chief General Debold Sinas has ordered a manhunt against suspected illegal loggers who fired at policemen in Cagayan province, leaving one officer hurt.
The newly installed police chief ordered pursuit operations against the suspects involved in the shooting incident that wounded Police Lt. Randy Baccay, Deputy Chief of Police at the Peñablanca police station. One of them was caught on site while the rest are at large.
Police Brig. Gen. Crizaldo Nieves, Cagayan Valley regional police director, reported that Baccay and his team were responding to reports that illegally cut timber was stockpiled in Sitio Dalayat, Minanga, Lagum, Peñablanca town on Thursday night.
While the team was inspecting and documenting the logs, armed suspects opened fire, hitting Baccay as the rest of the team fired back.
Arrested on the spot was Ernest Sibbaluca, 45, of Barangay Minanga, Peñablanca, Cagayan. He was identified as among the shooters.
Sibbaluca, who was previously arrested for illegal logging,
was taken to the Peñablanca Police Station. He is facing charges for Direct Assault and frustrated murder.
Sinas, meanwhile, instructed Nieves to extend a P50,000 financial assistance for Baccay's medical expenses.
The government has intensified operations against illegal logging in Cagayan province in the wake of historic flooding only two weeks ago.
Local officials cited illegal logging as a factor in the inundation, along with heavy siltation of the Cagayan river, water runoff from nearby provinces, and Magat Dam's water release.