The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has seized 20 kilos or P3.2 million worth of agarwood in two separate operations.
DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) and the NBI-Environmental Crime Division conducted operations in Pasig City and Cainta, Rizal last June 8.
Four suspects, identified as Ramil Ong, Bernie Bagay, Rizal Mofar, and Arjhun Gaviola, were arrested for the illegal transportation of the said high-value tree species.
“This clearly sends out the message that the government’s campaign against environmental offenders remains unrelenting despite a pandemic that is wreaking havoc worldwide,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.
The four suspects were charged with violations of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Protection Act. They are detained at the NBI detention facility in Manila.
Agarwood is one of the most expensive raw materials used in perfumery, costing at least P160,000 per kilo in the Philippines.
It is extracted from host trees locally known as Lapnisan and Lanete, which are both included in the national list of threatened Philippine plants. —AAC