TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: Environment authorities here have reported the arrest of at least 21 fishing boat operators in Santa Ana town who were attempting to spirit out illegally cut lumbers from the protected areas of Palaui Island.
Forester Felix Taguba, Cagayan provincial environment and natural resources officer, said they already filed appropriate charges against the suspects who were nabbed after being caught with the illegally cut lumbers.
He confirmed that a total of 2,680 board feet that were confiscated from the suspects is part of the abandoned 13,000 board feet of common hardwood species illegally cut down by still unknown individuals in Palaui last month.
Taguba said the confiscated lumbers were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through its Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Aparri town.
Meanwhile, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has formed a task force to save the endangered Palaui Island from further denudation as a result of reported illegal logging activities.
CEZA officer-in-charge Engineer Julian Gonzales said Task Force Bantay Gubat was created to save Palaui from all environmentally destruc- tive activities.
The 7,145-hectare Palaui Island is part of CEZA’s 54,000-hectare economic zone and lies along the West Philippine Sea-Pacific Ocean coast and declared as a National Marine Reserve in 1994.
It is inhabited mostly by the Agta tribe and adjudged by the US-based Cable News Network as among the world’s 100 most beautiful islands and beaches.
The island is best known for its glorious white sand meeting volcanic rocks and blue green waters.