THE City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (Clenro) seized a backhoe and a dump truck used in quarrying allegedly without a permit noontime on Saturday, October 12, in sitio Looc, Barangay Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro City.
Edwin Dael, Clenro chief, said the operator of the backhoe and the driver of a dump truck had been warned and reprimanded three weeks ago to stop quarrying operations in the site.
"They didn't listen and now they're caught red-handed. Due process will be enforced," he said.
Dael said his office needs a prime mover to bring the backhoe to CEO for storage.
Charges on violation of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 would be filed against those who are and would be found involved in the quarrying operation.
Ralph Vincent Abragan, one of the members of the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB), reported to Dael he saw people quarrying without a permit.
Dael instructed Norman Rosal, a Clenro staff, who lives near the site to get there immediately. Abragan blocked the equipment using his pickup truck to ensure the operator and the driver couldn’t get away.
u201cThey (operators) thought we wouldn’t patrol on a Saturday that’s why they took the chance to quarry, but our monitoring in these mining hotspots is almost 24/7. Thus, they were caught red-handed with their illegal quarrying operations,” Dael added.
Dael requested two police from Bulua police precinct to accompany him and arrest the backhoe operator and the dump truck driver while an additional police team was also dispatched to the site.
Dael said his office would verify the name of the owner of the backhoe to file charges.
u201cThis will definitely undergo due process like the other cases currently handled in the office,” he said.
On Clenro Updates page on Facebook, Dael posted the photo of the seized heavy equipment and urged the communities in the city to report immediately any mining activities seen or observed to Clenro.
u201cIf you will see illegal activities, report immediately and we will act right away,” Dael said.
Dael warned illegal loggers, saying their days are numbered, as the forestry division of Clenro has a new vehicle that can run after illegal logging activities in the hinterland barangays of Cagayan de Oro where rampant illegal logging activities are actively ongoing.
Barangay Dansolihon is home to the last remaining forest in the city, and Dael vows to protect it from any illegal activities. “I have sought the help of the communities around the forest and I am sure that Clenro can possibly help deter these illegal activities.”
Apart from the illegal logging activities, there is the perennial “kaingin” system practice that also contributes to the balding of the hills and mountains. Kaingin is the practice of burning of trees for cultivation purposes.
Dael said barangay officials would be reminded of their duties to put a stop to burning trees, illegal mining and logging since they are the first line of defense in protecting the environment.
Dael has been tapping the council of elders of the Higaonon tribes in hinterland barangays to actively enforce their practice of environment protection.
He said it wouldn’t be easy considering there are also barangay officials and some Higaonon working together against environment protection, but he is very optimistic that the reform his office aims at will be achieved based on his previous experience working with the lumads.
u201cWe were almost there 15 years ago, but the change of leadership in the City Government hindered us to continue what we had started. We may be back to square one now, but with the support of the communities in the city to help us run after these illegal activities involving our environment, I am sure success is inevitable,” Dael said.
Deliberation on copper ore
On September 24, Clenro conducted the first deliberation of the copper ore concentrate caught being transported without a permit on August 26. The copper ore was extracted in Barangay Dansolihon.
The deliberation panel, he said, included Jerome Pioquinto of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Clenro staff, and Higaonon tribe representative of Dansolihon.
In two weeks, a second deliberation would be scheduled.