Five Vietnamese arrested for illegally possessing agarwood
Five Vietnamese were arrested for illegal possession of a rare and endangered tree variety during two separate operations in Butuan City.
According to Police Brigadier General Gilbert Cruz, the Caraga regional director, three suspects identified as Ngyuen Thi Chung, Diel Thi Bich Hoa, and Vu Van Trang were nabbed at the Grand Palace Hotel around 11:30 pm on Thursday.
Authorities and personnel from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office retrieved two kilograms of agarwood and cash amounting to P1,874,650.
"Its fragrant dark resinous wood is used in incense, perfume, and small carvings," he explained.
In a follow-up operation around 5 am on Friday, authorities arrested Tu Quoc Vu and To Tien Phat at the Butuan City airport. Among the confiscated items in their belongings were 20 kilos of agarwood and P4 million in cash.
“The 22 kilograms of confiscated agarwood has an estimated value of P 15,400,000. We will make sure that violators will be facing charges for violation of Section 68 of Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order No. 277. Our operations remain focused in the protection and preservation our natural resources especially the endangered tree species,” Cruz said.
Agarwood is one of the country's endangered trees. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS