Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) as a signatory of the Anti-Illegal Logging Taskforce of the DENR in Palawan, seized a total of 8,686.40 board feet of banned premium hardwood species of lumber from a resort being built by El Nido Adventure Sports Corporation. Its project manager, Jan Nielsen, 44 years old and a Danish national, and his partner Michell Gacasao, Filipina, were charged with violation of Section 77 of the Forestry Code or PD 705.
The Enforcement Division of the PCSDS received information regarding the illegal collection and possession of prohibited lumber. These lumber were meant to be used for the cottages being constructed in the resort located in Sitio Silaga of Barangay Corong-Corong in the municipality of El Nido.
A surveillance operation was then conducted by the operatives of the Enforcement Division, and once the report has been validated, a search warrant was applied for from the sala of Judge Ambrosio De Luna of Branch 51. Then on January 24, 2015 at around 6:30 in the morning, and with the assistance of the Municipal PNP of El Nido, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and the barangay officials of Corong-Corong, the Enforcement Team served the warrant to Nielsen.
The search yielded hundreds of illegally cut lumber. They were found spread inside the cottages under construction. The search and documentation lasted until around 6 o’clock in the evening. These were then loaded and transported back to Puerto Princesa City for proper custody and disposition. As for Neilsen and Gacasao, they were also brought to the city by the apprehending team for inquest proceedings.
Among those found were 5,419.40 board feet of Ipil, 1,914 board feet of Nato, 1,335 board feet of Amugis and 18 board feet of Kayataw. The ipil is estimated to be worth PHP 6,503,300.00, as for the rest, they are worth PHP 1,143450.00 in total.
The facility was granted an SEP Clearance back in October of 2009. However, they were not given any permission or clearance to use any banned lumber and/or conduct any activity prohibited by laws in the Philippines. Further investigation is being conducted to determine where these lumbers came from and who supplied them.