P3M worth of lumber seized at Manila port
MANILA, Philippines—After apprehending an illegal shipment of stuffed sea turtles and black corals, the Bureau of Customs announced on Wednesday the seizure of P3 million worth of lumber believed to have come from the country’s protected forests.
Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said the lumber shipment, misdeclared as “general commodity” and stacked inside ten 20-foot containers, was seized on May 9 at Manila’s North Harbor.
Alvarez said the shipment, which originated from the port of Davao, was not covered by a valid permit issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
He said the contraband consisted mostly of Philippine mahogany (lauan), as well as timber considered endangered species.
“There are other protected species in there as well as that under Philippine forestry laws considered beyond the commerce of man,” Alvarez said.
Officials from the Bureau of Customs and the DENR have yet to complete an inventory of the seized lumber estimated to be worth at least P3 million.
Misdeclaration of the cargo was not the only reason why the customs police led by Nestorio Gualberto seized the shipment.
The consignees also failed to claim the lumber shipment within the 72-hour grace period, according to Deputy Customs Commissioner for Enforcement Horacio Suansing.
At least 10 names appeared as consignees of the entire shipment. “But after checking their addresses, we discovered that these people are nonexistent,” Suansing told the Inquirer over the phone.
Alvarez said the seizure of the lumber shipment should serve as a warning to smugglers, especially those involved in the illegal harvesting of protected and endangered resources.
The Bureau of Customs earlier seized two huge containers laden with dead turtles, black corals as well as 209 boxes of shells, which are all considered endangered species.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.