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Raps filed vs 8 Chinese nabbed in Bulacan ‘fake cigarette’ warehouse

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Local authorities on Friday (May 17) filed charges against eight Chinese nationals who were arrested in a warehouse that allegedly manufactures fake cigarettes in Marilao, Bulacan.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) lodged serious illegal detention charges and other raps against the still unidentified Chinese nationals for purportedly holding more than 80 workers at the storage house and forcing them to manufacture fake cigarettes.

“‘Yan yung pumasok sa element na serious illegal detention, kasi detention ‘yan. ‘Pag may worker ka, dapat pinalalabas mo, unang-una to feel fresh, walang fresh air sa loob,” said NBI Bulacan chief Noel Bocaling.

The foreign suspects were nabbed on Thursday after the NBI teamed up with local police to launch an operation inside a compound in Barangay Patubig. Around 87 workers who were recruited from North Cotabato were rescued by the operatives.

Authorities raided the area after receiving information from one of the workers who managed to sneak out of the warehouse.

One of the rescued workers, Jonathan Garcia, said they have been subjected to forced labor for many months after he and his companions were lured by a false promise of high pay.

“Marami kami pagpunta namin sa Maynila 20 kami. Sabi nila, maganda daw ang pasahod,” said Garcia, adding that they were promised to be given P10,000 worth of salary each month.

Renato Kalaman, who was also among those rescued from the warehouse, said they were made to work day and night without proper wages and benefits. They also had no idea they were making counterfeit cigarette products.

“Hindi ka makakita ng araw, ‘pag umaga madilim. Peke o orig talaga sigarilyo, di namin alam kasi di kami marunong,” he said.

The workers are now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for processing and documentation before they are sent back home. They will also receive a financial assistance worth P5,000 each.

Authorities are still working on identifying the owner of the said warehouse where more than P1-billion worth of fake cigarette products and machines used in manufacturing cigarettes were confiscated. More than P1-million pieces of fake cigarette product seals were also recovered. (with details from Nestor Torres)

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PDEA seizes over P1-billion worth of shabu in Alabang

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Over 160 kilos of shabu worth more than P1 billion seized by PDEA

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) seized over 160 kilos of shabu worth more than P1 billion in two separate operations in Muntinlupa City, Tuesday night (March 19).

PDEA conducted the first buy-bust operation inside a mall on Zapote Road where three suspects were arrested. The second operation was conducted in Alabang Village where another suspect was arrested.

The four arrested suspects are Go Kei-Kei, Emmanuel Pascual, Chua Kian Kok, Wu Yi.

PDEA continues to coordinate with the village homeowners, lessors, and condo owners due to a spate of operations where syndicates rent houses in the high-end subdivision to use as their warehouses.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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15 factories in Bulacan shut down for pumping chemical waste to Manila Bay

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Photo courtesy of DENR-Region 3

BULACAN, Philippines – There is no stopping the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from its crackdown of facilities that pollute Manila Bay.

In Bulacan, the agency’s regional office ordered the closure of 15 factories in the Municipalities of Marilao and Meycauayan for pumping waste water directly to river estuaries that link to Manila Bay.

In a report released by DENR on Friday (January 25), the agency issued ‘cease and desist’ order to 12 leather and tannery firms in Meycauayan and three in Marilao.

On Monday (January 28), the DENR cemented the drainage canal of five leather factories to prevent wastewater from draining to the rivers of Marilao and Meycauayan.

“Ang mga operations na ganito,na walang waste water treatment facility, walang permit, malaki ang contribution nila sa pollution,” explained Emerlyn Claudio, the DENR Region 3 Director.

Claudio accused the said establishments to have violated the Clean Water Act for not having their respective water treatment facility and environmental compliance certificate.

The environment official also noted that the said factories are discharging dark and chemically contaminated wastewater that flows directly to Manila Bay.

Aside from damage to the environment, the factories’ operations also cause inconvenience to the residents nearby.

“Ito nga tayo masakit na sa dibdib. Nakakasulasok na ang amoy. Kung yung mga nasa paligid, lalo na yung may exposure, I think this is one of the reasons why may complaint dati. Pero nag-stop sila and then nag resurface naman ang operation nila,” explained Claudio.

Local officials vowed to monitor closely the concerned companies after the shutdown.

“Mabaho na may kulay. May sulfite iyan ay nakakarating sa aming barangay. Imo-monitor na namin iyan araw-araw para ma-check kung mayroong tumatapon na tubig na marurumi,” said Chirs Polo Delos Santos, an official of Barangay Tugatog.

Meanwhile, the DENR warned closure against other companies if proven to have been violating environmental law particularly by disposing solid, water and chemical waste in aquatic environments such as Manila Bay. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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3 Chinese nationals nabbed for illegal quarrying activities in Porac, Pampanga

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Suspects

PAMPANGA, Philippines — A supposed 18-hectare mining area in the municipality of Porac was illegally expanded to 600 hectares.

One billion pesos worth of heavy equipment, machinery, conveyances and minerals were seized by the National Bureau of Investigation at two plants and quarry sites in Brgy. Manuali due to illegal mining.

Aside from this, authorities nabbed 30 individuals including three Chinese nationals who entered the country as tourists.

 “Initially it appears that they came here as tourists based on the initial documents that we are able to seize. And then they stayed on and were the ones working…operating the heavy equipment particularly iyong tinatawag nating vipro equipment; eto iyong sa mineral processing mismo at saka iyong mga payloader,”said NBI Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) Chief Atty. Czat Nuqui.

Linked to the said operation were the activities of Clarete and Tag Mineral Resources Incorporated where a certain Anson Tanglao is a major stockholder.

The complaint stems from a petition filed by an Aeta tribe against the said illegal activities for causing destruction in their ancestral domain.

“According to our MGB it’s more than a year na, pero doon sa mga katutubo po lampas limang taon na daw po silang nag-o-operate,” said NBI-EnCD Supervising agent Atty. Marvin Matamis.

“It would appear na mayroon silang permits but what they are using are those issued by the provincial government. Hindi po puwede at hindi sapat ang ganitong permits kasi ang areas of operation nila ay more than five hectares, aside from that they are doing mineral processing operation,” Nuqui explained further.

They are facing violation of Section 103 of Republic Act 7942 or Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and section 10 of Indigenous People’s Rights of 1997. – Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue

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