Illegal lumber seized in Pikit

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/06 September) — Police confiscated on Monday along the highway in Pikit town, North Cotabato a truck loaded with alleged illegal lumber reportedly owned by a local politician.

Supt. Alex Tagum, chief of the Cotabato Provincial Police Public Safety Office, said they intercepted a 10-wheeler prime mover truck loaded with some 10,000 board feet of lumber, mostly of hardwood species.

The driver allegedly failed to present documents, including a certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to prove the transport was legal.

Tagum identified the truck owner as Amina Matua of Pikit whose vehicle was allegedly hired by Pikit municipal councilor Dindo Piang to carry the logs to General Santos City.

The logs were supposed to be delivered last night, he said.

Five hours later, one of Piang’s men presented to authorities papers signed by an official of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Pagalungan town in Maguindanao that showed the cutting and transport of such lumber was legal.

Tagum, however, was skeptical.

“The documents were highly questionable. They were able to present to us the documents after we apprehended the logs. But at the time of the arrest, the driver did not carry anything,” he said.

The police official said they will keep the lumber in their custody and file charges against the alleged owner despite the documents.

Tagum led the apprehension together with Inspector Joan Resurreccion of Pikit police station and provincial police intelligence operatives.

He said an informant told them that a prime mover loaded with illegal lumber was set to travel from Pikit to General Santos City around 3:30 p.m. yesterday. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)