After winning a case against illegal miners operating inside the Taal Volcano Protected Area Landscape just last October, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through its Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS)—arrested another set of culprits in an anti-illegal quarrying operation in the same area recently.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu pointed out that miners who have been doing the same prohibited activities in the same area mean that “they remain unafraid of the environmental laws and their corresponding penalties”.
“This is the reason why the DENR has bolstered training for our enforcement personnel.”
“These illegal quarrying operations cannot be stopped if we remain complacent with enforcement operations. This is the reason why the DENR has bolstered training for our enforcement personnel, and more reasons why the legislative arm of the government should expedite the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB) Bill,” Cimatu said.
Fifteen illegal miners, who were apprehended as a result of the DENR enforcement operations, are currently undergoing legal procedures in violation of Republic Act (RA) 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems (E-NIPAS) Act of 2018, RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Presidential Decree 705 or The Revised Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines, and RA 9275 or the Clean Water Act.
Confiscated during the operations were three backhoes, two screeners used to define and segregate the liberated and extracted sand and gravel materials, and a truck loaded with 127 board feet of round logs and 122.83 board feet of lumber.
The ELEPS operatives also discovered that the area was used as a crude “firing range” with blue barrels filled with gravel and sand serving as “target papers”. Bullet slugs were also found in the area.
DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito Antonio De Leon assured that the ELEPS team “will do their best to put the offenders in jail after this operation”.
“We have seen that the ELEPS and its partner agencies have truly developed their skills in apprehending erring quarrying personnel.”
“We have seen that the ELEPS and its partner agencies have truly developed their skills in apprehending erring quarrying personnel, thanks to the support of Secretary Cimatu and the DENR’s Human Resource and Development Service during their special course in the Environment and Natural Resources Academy,” De Leon stressed.
De Leon also expressed hope that the efforts of the ELEPS “get the attention of the Philippine legislators in passing the EPEB Bill”.