THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 has ordered illegal quarry and sand and gravel (SAG) operators to stop their operation.
It also reminded holders of the MGB-issued permits to ensure that they have proper documentation of extracted minerals.
MGB 7, which is under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, also clarified that it has not received any directive from the MGB Central Office on the suspension of the MGB-issued permits.
The recent directive of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia that suspends the Province-issued quarry and SAG permits pending review has nothing to do with the MGB-issued permits.
However, the MGB 7 reminded holders of the MGB-issued permits to ensure that the required transport documents for delivering of minerals/mineral products are duly filled-up and in order, such as the delivery receipts and transport permits.
All illegally sourced minerals, mineral products and by-products—including tools, conveyances and equipment used in the commission of any offense against the Philippine mining laws—may be seized by an apprehending team, and may be subjected to further investigation and disposition.
A person caught illegally extracting, removing or disposing minerals may be convicted and penalized with a prison sentence of six months to six years. He may also be fined with P10,000 to P20,000, or he may be slapped with both prison term and fines.
In cases of apprehension by the police and other government law enforcement agencies, the apprehending agency shall notify the MGB 7, and it must turn over the seized items for proper investigation. The enforcement agency may also coordinate with the concerned local government unit, which can conduct its own disposition procedure and imposition of penalties based on its local ordinances.
MGB 7 Director Efren Carido said MGB-issued permit holders must also ensure that their SAG operations abide by safety, health and environmental provisions of mining law and regulations, and that the conditions set by Environmental Compliance Certificate are strictly followed.
He said the MGB 7 will undertake comprehensive evaluation of existing permit holders to assess their compliance with regulations and other commitments, including social development and management of host and neighboring communities. (PR)