CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – More than 3,000 board feet of premium narra flitches worth some PHP290,000 were seized on Monday along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) by joint operatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Alfredo Nepacena, chief of the Monitoring and Enforcement Section of the DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Capas, Tarlac, said they received a report that a vehicular accident occurred at the Concepcion and Luisita toll gates of SCTEX in Barangay Tinang, Concepcion town, involving a truck loaded with narra flitches.
"We initially had a hard time locating the vehicle, and sought the assistance of PNP Concepcion, SCTEX security personnel and the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) of Concepcion in search of the truck," Nepacena said in a social media post.
When the accident site was found, he said the damaged vehicle was already abandoned and only the cut pieces of narra wood and bunches of banana fruits were left scattered along the expressway, causing slight traffic congestion.
Nepacena said the forest products were presumed illegally sourced, since there were no legal documents accompanying the cargo.
According to some residents, Nepacena said the driver and his assistant were fetched by unidentified persons on board a sport utility vehicle (SUV), who were assumed to be escorting the truck.
The seized lumber products and conveyance truck are now impounded at CENRO-Capas and will undergo administrative adjudication proceedings to determine who are liable for violation of Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
Narra is a critically endangered species and its collection and trading are prohibited under DENR Administrative Order 2007-01 entitled "Establishing the List of Threatened Philippine National Plants and Their Categories, and the List of other Wildlife Species", unless it is covered by a permit from DENR.
DENR records show that over 294,687 board feet of illegal lumber worth PHP16 million have been apprehended in Central Luzon since 2020. (PNA)