DENR XII Files Case against alleged Illegal Treasure Hunters

(April 2, 2019, Koronadal City)- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region XII recently filed a case against seven (7) treasure hunters allegedly involved in an illegal treasure hunting operation in Polomolok, South Cotabato.

Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL) Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Gabriel M. Baute bared that the suspected treasure hunters were found present inside the man-made tunnel during the ocular ground inspection and verification of the composite team.

“We have caught them in the act, working, digging and excavating within the area of MMPL at Sitio Keumang, Barangay Palkan, Polomolok, South Cotabato without any legal authority from the DENR and the MMPL,” PASu Baute said.

The said location is within the “Multiple Use Zone” of MMPL.

“There was one (1) tunnel with an estimated portal entry of one and half (1.5) meter height within an estimated width of half (0.5) meter. They were also erecting a bunkhouse prior to the location of the tunnel that was made of “buyo-buyo” branches with walls covered by rice sacks and black plastic sheets which serves as accommodation,” PASu Baute added.

DENR-MMPL had also confiscated different tools found on the site to include solar panel, rake, hard chat, automotive battery, shovel, masonry hammer, shovel, masonry hammer, blower and head lamp.

Meanwhile, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau XII the estimated value of restoring the damaged site is P150, 000.00 and would further require the perpetrators to pay the said amount after due notice and hearing.

DENR XII Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria expressed his dismay on the illegal act committed within the MMPL. “There is no equivalent amount that can restore the damage brought to the environment. I call on to the community to be vigilant on illegal activities within a protected area,” Director Tamoria said.

“I was informed that with the help of a concerned citizen and the police officers of Polomolok, we were able to stop the illegal treasure hunting and the suspects will be held answerable of their actions,” said Director Tamoria.

Further, PASu Baute filed this case for violation of Section 20 of Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act as Amended by Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded (NIPAS) Act of 2018.

Section 20 of the NIPAS act defines the prohibited acts within protected areas to include the mutilating, defacing, destroying, excavating, vandalizing or in any manner damaging any natural formation and other objects of natural beauty, scenic value or objects of interest to Indigenous Peoples and the undertaking mineral exploration or extraction within the protected area, among others.

The MMPL under the ENIPAS Act has already been legislated and under this new law, it provides the imposition of higher rates of fines from P200,000 to P5 Million; and the stiffer penalty for committing illegal acts enumerated by the law such as imprisonment from one (1) year up to not more than 12 years, and perpetual disqualification from public office for public or government officials. (RHSumagpao)

 

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The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Glan headed by CENRO Abdul D. Cariga and Association of Barangay Captains ABC Pres.Chairman Rommel Retuya of Malugon Sarangani, together with some People's Organizations visited this Saturday, July 20 an established 2012 rubber plantation for an urban greening campaign.(KBBenpolok) Photos by: CENR Officer Abdul D.Cariga

 

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The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Glan headed by CENRO Abdul D. Cariga and Association of Barangay Captains ABC Pres.Chairman Rommel Retuya of Malugon Sarangani, together with some People's Organizations visited this Saturday, July 20 an established 2012 rubber plantation for an urban greening campaign.(KBBenpolok) Photos by: CENR Officer Abdul D.Cariga

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