By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
AUTHORITIES arrested two men caught with over 700 board feet of undocumented logs in Sitio Pahiron, Barangay Lumbia, this city, Saturday.
Police said the men were aboard a truck loaded with lauan and gmelina logs was intercepted by law enforcers at around 2:30 am.
Arrested while transporting the 25 pieces of lauan (about 595.47 board feet) and seven pieces of gmelina (about 155.64 board feet) were Arnel Tabobo, 39, and Cristito Daugan, 40. Both are residents of Barangay Tignaploan, this city.
Police said the confiscated logs are estimated to be worth P391,953.20.
Maj. Evan Viñas, city police spokesperson, said the suspects failed to show permits from the environment department when accosted by officers manning a checkpoint in Pahiron.
“They could not present the proper documents. That would make their cargo illegal,” he said.
He said the suspects would be facing anti-illegal logging charges and other related cases.
Viñas said police were looking into reports that Tabobo and Daugan have transported logs from the other areas passing through the city’s hinterland villages on several occasions.
Capt. Teodoro de Oro, Lumbia police chief, said the suspects refused to tell investigators where the logs came from, or where these would be brought, or who the owners were.
“Arnel (Tabobo) told us he was just paid to transport the logs, but he did not answer where these will be brought. He refused to tell us the whole story,” de Oro said.
De Oro said they have been receiving reports of the logging activities in the mountains that bordered Cagayan de Oro and Lanao del Sur.
When the police went with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office to the hinterland barangays to investigate, residents there told authorities the cutting of logs is taking place in Lanao del Sur, near the city’s boundary, he said.
“If the logging activities are in Lanao del Sur, that’s not within our jurisdiction already,” de Oro said. But he said they would pounce on Lanao loggers who would step on Cagayan de Oro soil.