Environment authorities and park rangers confiscated late last week an estimated 11,700 board feet of alleged illegally cut logs within the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) protected area.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) park superintendent Elizabeth Maclang told Palawan News on Monday that they were discovered on February 2, and confiscated on February 8 at Sitio Sto. Nino, Barangay New Panggangan.
PPSRNP park rangers, along with personnel of the City ENRO and the Marines, confiscated them from Elvira Beckett, who is reportedly building a resort in New Panggangan.
Seized were Nato, Ipil and Kamagong lumber costing around P1 million, according to Maclang, and were sourced from Barangay Caruray, San Vicente, and Old Panggangan.
“The case that should be filed against the person from whom they were confiscated should be a criminal case,” she said.
The value of the illegally cut logs, she added, is nothing compared to the environmental damage which Maclang estimated to be around P5 to P6 million.
“She has structures on her property now, and we’re still trying to find out if she has permits,” Maclang added.
Felizardo Cayatoc, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO), said the resort project at is without the knowledge of the park’s Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB).
“I am currently verifying the classification or the status of the land where she is building her resort – if is it alienable and disposable or timberland. It seems, too, that her resort project did not pass through the PAMB,” said Cayatoc.
“The team said some lumbers were hidden under the sand. I’m finding out where she got her permit because they said she’s not afraid as she has documents to prove the legality of her resort,” he stated.
Under Executive Order 23, Cayatoc said the moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests is prohibited.
“We suspect that the modus operandi is to deliver to her the logs at night when there are no witnesses who can see,” he stated, explaining that Beckett might be charged for violating Section 77 of the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines.
Beckett, said Maclang, can no longer be contacted and can no longer be seen in New Panggangan.
She is reportedly married to a British national and is also operating a resort and large vessels in Port Barton, San Vicente.