BALER, Aurora - Authorities confiscated illegally cut lumber in Maria Aurora town, this province early Monday morning.
A report said elements of the Philippine Army's 91st Infantry "Sinagtala Battalion (91IB) and the 1st Aurora Police Mobile Force Company intercepted a closed Isuzu Elf van bearing plate number XTC 376 during an anti-illegal logging operation along the vicinity of Sitio Canili, Barangay San Juan of the said town at around 2 a.m.
Seized were some 53 pieces of illegally cut lumber with a total volume of 854 board feet and an estimated market value of some PHP102,480.
However, the still unidentified van driver managed to escape while his helper Ronnie M. Ramilo was arrested.
The suspects will face charges in violation of Presidential Decree 705, or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines as amended by Republic Act 7161, which prohibits the cutting of trees without a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Meanwhile, the seized vehicle and the hot lumber were brought to the Environment and Natural Resources Office in Maria Aurora.
Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commander of 91IB, said authorities are still conducting an investigation to determine the source of the seized illegal forest products.
"We will continue to intensify our law enforcement support operations targeting illegal contrabands and those individuals or groups that are engaged in any illegal activities. We are your partners in maintaining peace and order in the province of Aurora," Rubio said in an interview. (PNA)