Saturday, October 23, 2021

NBI charges 4 Boracay residents for violating Forest Code

BORACAY. Rizaldy Rivera, of the NBI Environment Division, talks to the media about the filing of charges against four residents of Boracay. (Jun N. Aguirre)

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested four residents of Boracay on Tuesday, September 21, for illegal occupying a forest area owned by the government.

Rizaldy Rivera, team leader of the NBI Central Office, said three Filipinos and one German national were nabbed via warrantless arrest.

The NBI has been doing a crackdown against erring Boracay residents since last year for squatting at forest and swamp areas in the island.

The NBI said it has so far nabbed 15 individuals, many of them are foreigners.

"The four residents were charged Wednesday at the Aklan Provincial Prosecutors Office for violating the forest code. The law states that they could be able to bail at least P36,000 maximum for their temporary liberty," Rivera told members of the Aklan media Wednesday.

Two of those arrested claimed that they are holding tax declarations for their residence located in Mount Luho. The two others said they are just caretakers.

"The tax declaration is not recognized by the government if you are staying in the forest of Boracay. What is being allowed in the forest is the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes, which the suspects said they have none," Rivera said.

The NBI Environment Team Division has reported that it already arrested 15 individuals who are all illegal occupants in Boracay last year. Some of those nabbed and charged were foreigners.

"We may arrest more people in Boracay in the coming days. These people have already been warned several times since the 2018 Boracay closure but still they do not listen," Rivera said.

For his part, Artem Colacion, information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Western Visayas, said their department is supportive of NBI’s operations.

"Our region/s legal team are coordinating with the NBI in filing the charges against the suspects," Colacion said. (SunStar Philippines)


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