A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) forest ranger hacked to death in El Nido, Palawan, on Wednesday afternoon.
DENR MIMAROPA regional executive director Henry Adornado identified the victim as forest ranger Bienvinido “Toto” Veguilla, Jr., 44 years old, of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of El Nido.
According to reports, a group of illegal loggers whose chainsaw they confiscated attacked and killed Veguilla.
Adornado said that Veguilla and his team were on a regular monitoring patrol at Sitio Kinawangan, Barangay Pasadeña area when they encountered the group of illegal loggers. They then confronted them and confiscated their chainsaw.
“‘Yong mga tao namin galing sa pagmo-monitor kasi may mga instructions kami for them to validate. Noong pauwi na sila ng hapon, mga 5 p.m. daw, galing sa Pasadeña, along the way may nadaanan silang mga nag-cha-chainsaw, nagpo-power saw na mga timber poachers so hinuli nila. Nadala nila ‘yong power saw,” said Adornado in a phone interview with Palawan News.
(Our team came from monitoring since we instructed them to validate. On their way home at around 5 p.m. from Pasadeña, they passed by a group using a chainsaw, power saw, they are timber poachers so the team accosted them. They confiscated their power saw.)
Adornado said that on the team’s way back, the illegal loggers chased Veguilla’s group who ran away from the area.
Unfortunately, the suspect caught up with Veguilla and hacked him on the back and the head.
Reports said that at least six men attacked Veguilla.
Forest ranger hacked to death in El Nido Palawan not the first
On September 14, 2017, barangay captain Ruben Arzaga of Villa Libertad was shot dead at Sitio Batbat. Arzaga reportedly apprehended the suspects for their illegally cut lumber.
Arzaga was El Nido Law Enforcement Council (ELEC) chair, El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area Management Board (ENTMRPAMB) member and “Medalya ng Bayani ng Kalikasan” award recipient.
Adornado appealed to the government to pass a law that would arm DENR forest rangers so they can protect themselves against illegal loggers’ threat.