Two tea rose marble slabs seized in Angat, Bulacan

Marje Pelayo   •   January 21, 2019   •   2144

Blocks of tea marble confiscated by Bulacan Environmental and Natural Resources (BENRO)

BULACAN, Philippines – Two blocks of tea marble measuring 5.3 cubic meters each were confiscated by members of the Bulacan Environmental and Natural Resources (BENRO) on Saturday (January 19) in Angat, Bulacan.

According to BENRO Head Elizabeth Apresto, a tipster informed them of the suspicious movement of goods in Barangay Kalawakan, Donya Remedios Trinidad involving two dump trucks.

“Noong time na na-intercept sila, wala pa ang PNP pero tinawagan ko ang tao ko na puntahan ang PNP Angat,” Apresto said.

BENRO personnel immediately positioned at possible exit points and eventually intercepted the contraband.

Among the convoy of the two trucks was the vehicle of a certain ‘Sy’ who introduced himself as an official of Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporation.

According to initial report, the two tea rose marble slabs were among the 257 slabs confiscated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2008 in Barangay Kalawakan.

The slabs were formerly owned by Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporations but the DENR awarded the ownership to the provincial government in 2015.

Apresto added that the transport permit Sy presented dated January 11, 2010 was already expired and rebooked.

“Inaakala nila kanila pa rin pero hindi napo dahil kanselado na. Dapat ito sa provincial government na po dahil na-i-award na nga po ito sa amin. Wala po silang karapatan na ibyahe po ito dahil kanselado na po ang kanilang Mineral Production Sharing Agreement,” Apresto explained.

Meanwhile, Sy escaped on the way to Camp Alejo in Malolos, Bulacan to surrender the confiscated slabs.

“Noong time na dadalhin na namin sila dito at na-impound na namin dito sa kampo, sumusunod naman po siya. Siguro po ang pagkukulang namin ay dapat nalagyan ng pulis doon sa sasakyan niya,” the environment official said.

BENRO will file a case for violating R.A 7942 or the Mining Act of 1995 and the Provincial Ordinance C-005/ 2011 of the Revised Environmental Code against the two drivers of the trucks identified as Dennis Villarin and Jenel Dagon as well as the owner of the dump trucks Michael Lee.

Sy will also be held liable for the incident.

Kung may papel sila ayusin nila para kami po hindi po kami madamay. Kasi nagtratrabaho lang kami. Akala namin okay. Kami trabaho lang, hindi namin alam ang ganitong sitwasyon na mahalaga pala ang karga naming,” lamented Dagon.

Meanwhile, Apresto revealed that 160 of the 257 tea rose marble slabs owned by the provincial government were already purchased by a Chinese national named Charley Ang for US$500 per cubic meters.

Ang was the winning bidder during the public bidding held last year. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

Five suspected illegal loggers arrested in Bulacan

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Five suspected illegal loggers have been arrested in the forested area of Doña Remedios Trinidad in the province of Bulacan during anti-illegal logging operations.

The area is part of the Angat Watershed Reservation under the Proclamation No. 505.

The operation was spearheaded by the combined operatives of the DENR Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) based in Baliwag, Bulacan together with personnel from the National Power Corporation (NPC)- Angat Watershed Team (AWAT) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) in Bulacan,

Authorities also seized more than 1,600 board feet of chainsawn dipterocarp lumber worth over P170,000 including three chainsaws and five motorcycles.

The forest contrabands are now under the custody of CENRO Baliwag. 

The DENR has already filed criminal charges against the suspects for violating the Forestry Code of the Philippines (P.D. 705) and the Republic Act No. 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002.

Phivolcs sees geohazard, flooding risks in Bulacan Airport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020

The project site of the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulacan has geohazard risks, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The multi-billion airport is sitting on soft ground and its location is prone to frequent flooding, according to Phivolcs Usec. Renato Solidum.

“Just to be very specific on the facts is that it is far away from the fault. But since it’s underlain by sand with a shallow water table, it’s prone to strong ground shaking and liquefaction,” he said.

Solidum said they conducted an assessment to ensure the safety of the community as well as to protect investments. He recommended making buildings and infrastructure resilient to hazards.

“Dapat iyong building mo ay maayos ang disenyo na maging stable siya habang lumilindol at hindi siya tumagilid. Or pwede mo ring patibayan ang lupa. Bawasan mo iyong tubig, palitan mo iyong lupa, (The building should have a proper design for it to be stable during earthquakes. The ground can also be strengthen by reducing its water content or replacing the soil),” he added.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMC) said they have been taking into account the risks in designing the P740 billion domestic and international airport in Bulacan. The SMC also assured they have studied the project, including its feasibility, and all possible risks.

“The airport’s design fully takes this into account and we have actually started implementing sustainable measures to address flooding in Bulacan that has existed for several decades and has been made worse by clogged waterways and drainages,” according to SMC.

The corporation also tapped three major global airport construction firms to ensure the airport is resilient, sustainable, and will provide the best benefits for all Filipinos. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

P15.7 million worth of smuggled, fake cigarettes seized in Bulacan

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2020

Smuggled and fake cigarettes worth P15.7 million have been intercepted by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in a warehouse it raided in Bocaue, Bulacan.

In a statement Friday, the BOC said the operation was launched on August 25 by its enforcement and security service quick reaction team, along with the Bocaue Police.

The bureau said the inspection resulted to the discovery of 246 master cases of suspected smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes with an estimated value of P15.7 million.

The cigarettes confiscated were identified to have brands such as Marlboro, Astro, D&B, Two Moon and Union cigarettes.

“The apprehended goods are currently undergoing further investigation and inventory,” the BOC said.

“The bureau remains committed to its mandate to secure the country’s borders as it strengthens efforts to protect the public from fake and smuggled goods,” it added.

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