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Forest ranger’s home razed by masked men

SURIGAO CITY – Four unidentified men whose faces were covered with cloth mask set on fire the house of a government forest ranger in Lianga town, Surigao del Sur.

Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the incident could be a retaliation of those affected by the recent confiscation of illegal logs in the province.

The house is owned by Patrick M. Angelia, a regular forest ranger assigned at the enforcement section of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office ( CENRO) in Lianga town.

“The entire household members of Angelia including his parents were able to escape unhurt from the raging fire when they were awakened by the shouts and commotion of their neighbors,” said DENR 13 regional spokesperson Herzon F. Gallego.

Chief Supt. Rolando B. Felix, regional director of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) yesterday ordered the Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office and Lianga Municipal Police Station to help the Bureau of Fire Protection in the investigation to identify and eventually arrest the perpetrators.

DENR 13 Regional Director Dr. Charlie E. Fabre said the motive of the incident could be related to their ongoing and relentless anti-illegal logging drive and may have drawn the ire of the timber poachers in the area.

“These timber poachers are trying to get even with the DENR for confiscating their stolen logs,” said Fabre.

Fabre also cited a similar incident that happened a decade ago when an irate timber poacher also shot and killed a forest ranger of CENRO Lianga on board his service motorcycle while on his way home. (Mike U. Crismundo)