18,000 board feet of hot logs seized from truck owned by councilor

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/10 Sept) —  Police in North Cotabato seized some 18,000 board feet of alleged illegally-cut logs of Tipulo, Tal-ut, and Cubi species in the watershed of Barangay Binoligan at around 6:30 p.m. Friday just as they were being loaded on a six-wheeler truck owned by village councilor Arnold Egloria.

Egloria was supervising the loading of the P200,000 worth of logs.

Acting on a tip from a resident in the area, Supt. Alex Tagum, head of the Cotabato Police Public Safety Office of the Cotabato Provincial Police Office, immediately organized two raiding teams, together with an employee of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in North Cotabato , and swooped down on the area, catching Egloria, a councilor of Barangay Binoligan, leading a group of men hauling several rounds of logs on his six-wheeler Panther truck.

Tagum said they invited Egloria, his truck driver Genegil Alberca Cordova, helper Jovy Absolon and a minor for interrogation then later placed them under custody. A complaint for violating Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code was filed against Egloria and company at around 3 p.m. Saturday at the office of City Prosecutor Al Calica.

“They were immediately placed under inquest proceedings.   They will pay for the crime they committed against the law and against the environment,” said Tagum.

Egloria told police Helen Ugay of the Amas Elementary School here commissioned him to transport the logs to neighboring Makilala town. Ugay, whom Egloria described as the lot owner, was not around when the raid took place.

The environment officials said the seized logs were naturally grown tree species, mostly from the local variety of Tipulo, Tal-ut, and Cubi, with an estimated commercial value of P200,000.

The seizure of hot logs was the second in the province this week.

On Monday, Tagum and his men confiscated some 10,000 board feet of illegally-sliced lumber loaded on a 10-wheeler truck along the highway in Pikit town.   Charges were already filed against the owner of the lumber and his workers. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)