The successful clearing/eradication of unlawful forest occupants in Sitio Mamba, Barangay Pinagsanhan B, Maragondon, Cavite is a significant achievement for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Province of Cavite.
The clearing operation was conducted on October 4, 2022, with the involvement of various government agencies and local officials namely: the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cavite, Provincial Government-ENR Office, Local Government Unit (LGU) Maragondon, Municipal ENRO Maragondon, DENR 4A Enforcement Division, DENR 4A Legal Division, Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS) of DENR, Philippine National Police (PNP) Maragondon, and Barangay Officials of Pinagsanhan B. As a result of the operation, 12 abandoned huts were demolished, 32 families refused to leave the area, and two (2) families self-demolished their huts.
DENR took legal action by filing a case against 20 families who were found illegally occupying the forestland areas, in accordance with Section 78 of Presidential Decree 705 as amended by RA 7161. The case was filed on November 14 and 28, 2022 at Imus Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22.
Currently, the unlawful forest occupants, totaling 20 families, are undergoing hearings at the fiscal/prosecutor's office. Nineteen (19) families have complied and voluntarily vacated the area, which may result in the dismissal of the case against them by the Fiscal. However, the DENR retains the option to file a case if any of the families will return to the forestland. The remaining one (1) family who refused to comply is facing charges in the higher court.
On the other hand, DENR is currently preparing the documents for the case to be filed against the 12 families occupying the protected area, the Mts. Palay-Palay Mataas Na Gulod Protected Landscape (MPPMNGPL).
The preparation of documents for the case reflects the thoroughness and diligence of DENR in pursuing legal action against violators. It involves gathering evidence, compiling relevant documents, and following the proper legal procedures to ensure a strong case in court.
This success story highlights the efforts of DENR, in collaboration with other agencies and local officials, in enforcing environmental laws as well as addressing illegal forest occupation and promoting responsible stewardship of natural resources in the Province of Cavite. ###