Photo from IPPF

A man suspected to be behind illegal logging activities around the Barangay Luzviminda area was arrested by law enforcement authorities Friday (March 5) for illegal possession of firearms following an operation.

Authorities from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), along with personnel from the Puerto Princesa City Police Station 2 (PS2) and 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde), arrested a barangay tanod of Brgy. Sta. Lucia identified as Felicito Dagsan, 37.

He is suspected of being behind illegal logging activities, as well as charcoal-making from burned illegally cut trees, that has destroyed a still undetermined extent of the penal property.

Recovered from Dagsan were assorted sahing and Malabayabas with an estimated volume of 2,000 board feet, and an improvised pistol with four live ammunition.

Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) chief Supt. Raul Levita said that during their monitoring operation, they tapped the services of the 3rd Marine Brigade and PS 2 where upon searching, the team discovered an illegal weapon in Dagsan’s possession.

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“Matagal na natin ito na-report sa media, almost a hundred hectares na ang sinisira ng mga tao sa area. Ang concern namin ay kagubatan kasi iyan ang pinagkukuhaan ng tubig sa Puerto Princesa,” Levita said.

“Upon searching ay merong illegal weapon kaya nagkaroon ng pag-kolekta ng illegal firearm. Hindi hinuli dahil lang sa pag-uuling kung hindi dahil din sa pagkakaroon ng pinagbabawal na firearm, maraming violation,” Levita further stated.

He said they have not yet determined the size of the area that was affected by the illegal logging activity, but this has contributed to almost 100 hectares of land under their jurisdiction that have previously been damaged.

The local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has yet to determine the value of collected logs, he added.

He also said there is a possibility that there are other armed individuals cutting trees in the area for charcoal-making or lumber trade.

The affected area will be included in the National Greening Program (NGP) of the DENR, Levita said, so it must be protected and squatters must be removed.

“Nasa PNP siya at sasampahan ng kaso. Ngayon ay sunod-sunod ang monitoring natin. Noong [start of lockdown] pandemic, doon sila nagsamantala para sirain at ngayon na medyo maluwag na, dire-diretso ang ating monitoring para pangalagaan ang kalikasan,” he said.

P/Major Alevic Rentino, PS 2 chief, said Dagsan was caught in the act of cutting trees while the firearm was discovered inside his pouch during the operation.

“Nakipag-coordinate ang BuCor sa city PNP regarding dito, pagdating sa lugar huli sa akto ang suspek sa illegal na pamumutol ng kahoy,” Rentino said.

“Mukha lang siyang 45 caliber pero homemade lang siya, paltik. Upon arrest, nakita sa kanya ang pouch kung saan laman nito ang baril at apat na bala. Maliban sa pag-uuling niya, nagdi-dispose din siya ng mga round timber, pero di na namin alam kung saan, under observation pa siya,” he added.

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