7 arrested for agar wood smuggling in Leyte
ORMOC CITY — Police arrested seven persons for allegedly smuggling pieces of agar, an endangered tree species sought after for its supposed medicinal properties, on Sunday, Nov. 3, in the town of Carigara, Leyte province.
Maj. Jimmy Boy Balasanos, Carigara police chief, identified the suspects as Jendel Morgado, Shane Manacpo, Liefdon Villarosa, Alberto Seploc Jr, Mark Marvie Erbias, Alfredo Mandalones, and Reynaldo Arboleda.
Balasanos said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sought police help after getting a tip that a group was set to smuggle agar wood in Carigara.
Police set up a checkpoint where the suspects were arrested on board two motorcycles and a Mitsubishi Mirage.
Agar wood wedges weighing more than 1 kilogram and worth at least P200,000 were seized from the suspects.
Balasanos said three of the suspects—Villarosa, Seploc and Erbias—allegedly tried to bribe policemen with P100,000 in exchange for not being arrested.
A separate charge of bribery would be filed against them.
Agarwood, aloeswood or gharuwood is a fragrant dark resinous wood used in incense, perfume and small carvings. It forms in the heartwood of aquilaria trees when they become infected with a type of mould.
Agar wood is sought after primarily for its warming qualities and for its soothing effects when burnt as incense. Powdered form of the species is also used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, vomiting and anorexia./TSB
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