DENR National Capital Region, through its Port Integrated Clearance Office (PICO), took custody of four 20-foot container vans containing various lumber/sticks from the port of Ozamis in Misamis Occidental last week after its shipper failed to show valid transport documents.

The container vans arrived at North Harbor, Manila onboard MV MSN early this November. On inspection, however, the shipper only managed to present scanned copies of the Certificate of Origin Forms (COFs) for the forest products, prompting Forester Nicolas S. Docena, Jr., PICO Head, to request verification from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of origin, in this case, the CENRO of Ramon Magsaysay, Zamboanga Peninsula.

In response to For. Docena’s query, CENRO Geoffrey S. Zayas of Ramon Magsaysay sent an email stating that his office has not issued the documents presented by the shipper, prompting the former to officially request the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to open and jointly inspect the van containing lumber.

DENR Administrative Order No. 94-07 requires transporters/shippers of forest products to secure a COF from the CENRO of origin.

DENR Administrative Order No. 2007-31, meanwhile, specifies that the COFs are to be issued "on a per shipment and transport basis only and shall be valid for a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days (including Saturdays, Sundays, or Holidays) from the date of confirmation by the FMB."

Hence, forest products without the accompanying COF are deemed illegally sourced and subject to confiscation and disposition of the government per Section 77 of Presidential Decree No. 705 as amended. Violators, on the other hand, shall be punished with the penalties imposed under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code.