Misamis Oriental illegal mining left ‘massive excavation, forest destruction’
MANILA, Philippines — Authorities arrested last May 13 a total of 18 suspects — five of them Chinese — and seized several pieces of heavy equipment in a raid on illegal mining operations on 7.6 hectares of land along the Iponan River in Opol, Misamis Oriental.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said its regional office had received reports of illegal mining. On investigation using satellite imagery, the DENR saw “massive excavations and forest destruction.”
“The DENR’s satellite image allowed the different government agencies to monitor and observe mining sites, and confirm and track their activities,” the DENR said.
DENR officials conducted the raid with members of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Special Forces of the Philippine Army 4th Infantry Division.
The suspects now face several cases for violating the Philippine Mining Act, the Philippine Clean Water Act, and the Forestry Code of the Philippines.
“I hope that the recently conducted joint operation and the succeeding monitoring and rehabilitation efforts will bring about positive changes and bring to life again the Iponan River,” DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga said in a statement.