By Jeffrey G. Damicog
Eight persons have been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Tarlac for illegal excavation of lahar sand.
NBI Officer-In-Charge Eric Distor identified those arrested as workers of A Sand Quarry, namely, Erwin Feliciano, Renoel Paulino, Eugene Madolid, Rolly Verdeflor, Alex Gato, Rodel De Jesus, Rico Duron, and Gilbert Cubelo.
The eight were arrested last June 24 at the illegal quarry site in Barangay Sta. Lucia in Capas, Tarlac during operations conducted by agents of the NBI’s Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD).
“Subjects failed to present documents and permits necessary to conduct quarry operations, prompting the operatives to place them under arrest,” the NBI said in a statement.
The NBI also seized at the site heavy equipment amounting to around P10.86 million including six dump trucks, two pay loaders, and one backhoe.
Following their arrest, the eight were presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor-Tarlac City for theft of minerals in violation of Section 103 of Republic Act 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
Prior the operation, it was found that A Sand Quarry has been selling lahar sand between P5,000 to P6,000 per dump truck.
“Verification revealed that no quarry permits were issued for the whole province of Tarlac by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board – Tarlac,” the NBI said.
“Also, a list of mining and quarry permittees from the Regional Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Region 3 (DENR MGB III) showed that ‘A Sand Quarry’ had no existing mining and quarry permit,” it added.