The country’s police force must strictly enforce the country’s laws against illegal mining activities especially in remote areas, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque admitted there may have been “lapses” in law enforcement after illegal mining operations have reportedly thrived especially in Cagayan Valley.
“Of course the PNP (Philippine National Police) will have to more or less come up with an explanation on why there (were) unauthorized mining activities in the area because that’s that matter also of enforcement. So in that sense, there may have been lapses na mayroong illegal mining activities ongoing which should have been stopped,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
“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 said.
On Sunday, President Duterte ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to investigate the illegal mining and logging activities in Cagayan Valley in the wake of the devastating floods and landslides triggered by typhoon Ulysses. Duterte, in a post-typhoon briefing in Cagayan, said despite the discussion on these illegal activities, “nothing has been done” to address such problems.
Cimatu informed the President that they have not issued any mining permit in the area, although there were illegal small-scale mining operations. He said they already filed cases and issued a cease-desist-order against these “crooked people.”
Local authorities earlier reported that 10 of the casualties in the region were reported at the illegal mining areas.