Troops seize hot lumber in Makilala

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/07 February) – Soldiers belonging to the 38th Infantry Battalion confiscated on Sunday afternoon a truckload of reportedly illegal lumber in an entrapment operation in Makilala town of North Cotabato.

Makilala municipal environment officer Walter Ruizo said about 2,000 board feet of lumber of nilo, a premium species, were loaded in a vintage truck owned by Arturo Coscosof Barangay Malasila.

Nilo lumber, Ruizo said, commands a price of P12, 000 per cubic meter and lasts at least 50 years even if placed below the ground.

Soldiers led by Cpl. Marlon Domingo told Ruizo they were tipped off by residents of Barangay Luayon, where the entrapment operation took place.

Coscos, the soldiers said, had no permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) so they held the truck and the including the suspects.

The logs reportedly came from Sitio Kapatagan, also in Barangay Luayon, some 10 kilometers away from the Army outpost.

Coscos claimed the lumber was not for sale and that it was intended to build their house in Barangay Malasila. He showed a copy of a certification from Barangay Luayon allowing them to cut trees.

Ruizo, however, was bent on filing charges against the suspects.

“Mr. Coscos has complicated the situation by trying to bribe some of the members of the apprehending team. We will look into the details of the case, knowing that some members of the Coscos family were instrumental in a number of slash-and-burn activities in Sitio Kapatagan, Barangay Luayon,” he said. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)