Environment and law enforcement authorities in El Nido recovered on Tuesday a large volume of floating timber slabs near the coast of Tapiutan Island.
Commodore Allan Corpuz, commander of the Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDP), told Palawan News on Thursday an inventory of the found timber slabs is being completed, while initial and unofficial estimates indicated there were around 3,000 board feet already recovered by authorities.
Corpus said that on December 10, the Coast Guard Station (CGS) El Nido intercepted three motorboats loaded with wood flitches at the vicinity of Matinloc Island.
When confronted about their load, the boat crew claimed they took them out of the water floating near Tapiutan Island, also in El Nido.
Corpuz said that on the same day, CGS El Nido personnel with the Joint Task Force Malampaya (JTF Malampaya) under the command of Capt. Donn Anthony Miraflor and the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) went to Tapiutan Island to verify the information from the crew of the motorboats.
“Upon arrival, the information about the floating flitches of wood was confirmed and several boats were already in the area attempting to salvage them. They were prohibited from recovering those logs,” Corpuz said.
Corpuz said their CGS El Nido, JTF Malampaya, and local DENR personnel recovered the floating wood flitches and deposited them to the office of the National Integrated Protected Area Program (NIPAP) in Barangay Corong-Corong.
He said at present, environment authorities headed by the DENR in El Nido are now conducting an inventory to determine their exact volume.
In a separate interview with JTF Malampaya commander Capt. Donn Anthony Miraflor, he said an estimated 3,000 board feet of lauan wood were recovered and loaded to their navy vessel.
However, he said an inventory will fully determine the total number of board feet collected.
“Inaalam pa kung saan nanggaling ang mga lumutang na tabla ng kahoy. Medyo marami kaya nag-i-inventory pa ang local DENR,” he said.
In Taytay, an environment law enforcement source who cannot be named said around 100,000 board feet of wood flitches were also recovered by coastal residents of San Jose, Tumbod, and Liminangcong, Taytay.
Some residents said the wood slabs may have been dumped to the sea by a foreign barge at the heigjt of typhoon Tisoy last week.