A park ranger of the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) was wounded after he was shot by suspected illegal loggers while patrolling an area of the national park Thursday.

PPUR spokesperson Jan Elmer Badilla told Palawan News their rangers were investigating a reported illegal logging activity at an area of the park in Barangay Tagabenit when they came upon two men who were trying to haul illegally cut trees.

The two, later identified as Fernando Mameng Sr. and his son and namesake, were reportedly armed with a home-made pistol “sumpak” and shot one of the rangers, identified as Guillermo Celino, wounding him in the leg.

“Siguro nagkainitan at binaril nila gamit ang sumpak, improvise na baril at natamaan sa right leg ang ating ranger,” Badilla said.

“Nahuli nila sa akto na nagta-transport ng mga lumber itong dalawa, mag-ama sila,” he added.

The son reportedly escaped following the shooting while authorities were able to arrest the father.

Criminal charges will be filed against the two men for violation of PD 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines; RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act; Physical assault resulting in serious physical injury; RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as one Act and frustrated murder.

Badila said that Celino is currently in stable condition.

“Nahuli agad ‘yong tatay at nainquest na kahapon (Thursday). Ang anak naman nya ay nakatakas. Pero pareho ang magiging kaso nilang dalawa. Sa huling update ay okay na siya [Celino] although medyo sensitive ang tama nya kasi sa baba banda,” he said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.