THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Davao Region (DENR-Davao) clarified it has not given a "notice to proceed operation" to the mining company responsible for the siltation and discoloration incident of Mapagba River and the coastal areas in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental early this year.

DENR-Davao Director Bagani Evasco said in a press conference that the cease and desist order (CDO) and notice of violation issued to Arc Nickel Resources Inc. (Anri) on January 14 is still in effect.

Evasco said based on their initial assessment, the potential source of siltation and discoloration along the Mapagba River was attributed to active mining activity of Anri.

He said rehabilitation process among the rivers is still ongoing.

"After that rehabilitation, siguro (probably) more or less two to three months, they will start operating again," the DENR official said.

Due to the recent heavy rain pours experienced in Davao Region over the past few days, the color orange water of the river remains due to natural and non-chemical processes.

"Clear na po 'yung tubig, but siyempre, 'pag umuulan... makikita mo pa rin na mag-o-orange pa rin. (The water is already clear, but of course, when it is raining, you can still the water turning into color orange). It's still a natural, it's not a chemical process," Evasco said.

The official said they are still waiting for the decision of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) central office on the lifting of the CDO.

In a previous report, EMB-Davao Director Engr. Mario Bulacan said based on the existing Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), Anri has three violations “Specifically ECC condition 1, condition number 4, and ECC condition number 18 administratively it has a corresponding administrative penalty of P50,000.”

Bulacan said the mining company is also facing possible sanctions under Republic Act 9275, or the Clean Water Act.

He said the notice of violation is partial as it is still based on violations of the ECC and depending on the laboratory result from the water samples they can issue a notice of violation based on the Clean Water Act. RGL