Palace: PNP should have an explanation on illegal mining in Cagayan
(Philstar.com) – November 16, 2020 – 7:55pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has to explain the presence of illegal mining in Cagayan, which has been blamed for the massive flooding in the region during the onslaught of typhoon “Ulysses,” Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the illegal mining activities do not have licenses so the issue is “a matter of enforcement.”
“If they were given licenses, they (officials) can be criticized. But (Environment) Secretary (Roy) Cimatu has clarified that they do not have licenses so they are illegal,” Roque said at a press briefing.
“So of course the PNP will have to more or less come up with an explanation on why there was unauthorized mining activities in the area, because that’s that matter also of enforcement. So in that sense, there may have been lapses because there are illegal mining activities ongoing which should have been stopped,” he added.
Roque, however, said authorities may not have penetrated isolated areas of Sierra Madre.
“But by and large, the President said that the quick reaction fund—the quick reaction of all the departments and agencies were in fact very good,” the Palace spokesman said.
“They have limited enforcement so I would accept that we need to better enforce and implement the laws banning illegal mining even in secluded areas, remote and secluded areas such as the Sierra Madre range,” he added.
Roque said there is a need for a law that would impose penalties on individuals who remain in hazardous areas.
“They are in municipalities in the Cordilleras classified in the hazard maps as… hazard areas, and yet there continues to be residents there,” he added.
Last Sunday, Duterte ordered the environment department to probe the mining activities in Cagayan Valley after various parts of the region were hit by floods.
“What is important is to control mining to prevent the holes, which allows waters to enter the soil. It loosens the soil,” the president said.