The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) reassured Malacanang, the national DENR, and the concerned stakeholders that it is not standing idly by, but is continuing its zealous efforts to protect and conserve the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape, to which Masungi Karst is covered, while upholding the rule of law.
The said statement was made in response to the recent directive from the Office of the President to look into the alleged illegal activities being undertaken within the protected area and to file the necessary charges against violators of environmental laws. Said order was further driven by the relentless releases of baseless accusations made by the Dumaliangs of Masungi Georeserve Foundation, Inc. (MGFI) that the DENR lacks “proactive action” on the matter.
The regional department said its previous and ongoing efforts include securing of guilty verdicts for the environmental crimes committed in the protected area in result of the sustained conduct of joint operations and apprehension activities with Environmental Law Enforcement and Protected Service (ELEPS), National Bureau of Investigation - Environmental Crimes Division (NBI-EnCD) and other enforcement agencies; issuance of 104 Show Cause Orders (SCOs) and 43 Cease and Desist Orders (CDOs) to the illegal infrastructures with the protected area including piggeries, resorts, camp/retreat centers, and houses; establishment of additional checkpoints in various entry points in the area; deputation of more Environment and Natural Resources Officers; and continued seedling production and tree planting activities.
DENR Secretary Jim O. Sampulna previously declared that four out of the 16 cases filed against the environmental violators apprehended through joint DENR and NBI-EnCD operations from 2021 to February 2022 in Brgys. San Jose, San Juan, and Pintong Bukawe, Antipolo City and in Brgy. Pinugay, Baras, Rizal, were already won.
Moreover, the Protected Area Management Office of UMRBPL said SCOs were previously issued to violators. Furthermore, CDOs were also served to the violators.
The DENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of Rizal said teams are deployed in the protected area to regularly conduct LAWIN patrolling to deter any illegal activities.
DENR CALABARZON highlighted also the proactive stance of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of UMRBPL, as the protected area’s sole governing body, against the violators which include MGFI that has an existing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the department.
The regional department guarantees that it is working tirelessly to attain environmental justice that is swift, certain, and fair.###