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Navy seizes P8-million tanbark off Palawan


MANILA, Philippines - The Navy seized on Monday P8 million worth of illegally harvested tanbark after intercepting an unmarked boat off the coast of Palawan.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col Omar Tonsay said Marine troops boarded the boat at around 6 p.m. Monday, two nautical miles from Barangay Malihud in Bataraza town.

The operation was conducted after authorities received a tip from citizens about the contraband.

Six hundred bags of tanbark were found onboard and eight crewmen were taken into custody.

“These barks are commonly smuggled to Malaysia and Indonesia and are highly valued as a source of organic dye used in making batik cloth,” Tonsay said in a statement.

Tanbark is stripped from mangrove trees, a practice outlawed in the Philippines because this kills the trees.
Authorities believe the contraband would be shipped to Cebu City via Mapun, Tawi-Tawi.

The apprehension was a joint operation of Naval Forces West, Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 12, and environmental group Kilusang Sagip Kalikasan.

Lt. Noel Cadigal, Naval West spokesman, said charges had been filed against the eight crewmen.

The boat is now under the custody of MBLT 12 in Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan.
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The Philippine Star 
February 09, 2012 12:00am

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