DENR eyeing Patag illegal occupants next

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014


THE Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) in Negros Occidental will investigate next Barangay Patag in Silay City for possible encroachment by some private property owners in the protected area of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP).

PENR Officer Andres Untal said he has instructed the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in Bacolod City and in Cadiz City to monitor and investigate possible intrusions within the protected area of the NNNP.

Cenro-Bacolod covers the areas from Salvador Benedicto up to E.B. Magalona towns while Cenro-Cadiz includes areas from Victorias City up to San Carlos City.

The Penro on Tuesday served cease and desist orders (CDOs) to 35 private individuals whose structures are located within the protected area of the NNNP.

Untal, however, refused to divulge the names of the individuals that include well-known personalities in the province.

“My personnel served the CDOs yesterday and I cannot divulge the names of those who were ordered to stop their structures for further development while their cases are referred to the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). PAMB will then divulge to the media the names of these individuals," Untal said.

He said that they will furnish the Office of the Governor copies of the CDOs against the 35 private individuals.

Provincial legal officer Jose Ma. Valencia, meanwhile, confirmed that Untal asked for assistance from the Task Force Ilahas in serving the CDOs because they lack personnel.

"After the serving of the CDOs, the DENR will conduct an administrative hearing to see if there was a violation of the National Integrated Protected Area System (Nipas) Act of 1992 after which criminal charges can be filed," Valencia said.

He added that they are investigating not only those who bought the land but also those who sold it.

Also being investigated are the reported involvement of some personnel of the DENR in these transactions.

“I want all these to have evidence before we publicly name them," Valencia said.

He further said that the structures, if confirmed by PAMB to be within the protected areas, could face demolition.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 12, 2014.

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