Some personalities who had been issued cease-and-desist orders by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to make them stop the construction of facilities within the protected area of the Northern Negros Natural Park in Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, continue to defy the order,
Task Force Ilahas action officer, Chief Inspector Gabriel Gutierrez. said yesterday that DENR has issued cease-and desist orders to 48 individuals who include Salvador Benedicto Mayor Jose Max Ortiz and Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano, to prevent further construction within the NNNP protected area in the town.
Gutierrez, however, said their recent inspections at Salvador Benedicto showed that some personalities issued the CDO continue to occupy and deliver construction materials to their areas.
He, however, did not identify the individuals.
To prevent the delivery of construction materials, Gutierrez suggested the blocking with boulders or concrete culverts the roads leading to the areas occupied by those issued the CDOs.
On April 29, joint operatives of TFI and the Provincial Environment Management Office conducted a foot patrol at Spur 9 in Sitio Istiwitis, Brgy. Bagong Silang, Salvador Benedicto, to verify reported encroachment into more than four hectares of forest land, which is under the Community-Based Forest Management Area of BINHI, a people's organization.
Gutierrez said their investigations showed that the area had allegedly been sold by Eddie Montano to a certain Manolito Lopez.
Bunga Brgy. Capt. Ricky Rebatado approached Pastor Sunny Antonio, BINHI chairperson, to allow a certain de la Rama to occupy and reforest a portion of the area that was sold by Montano, he added.
While Antonio denied the request, Gutierrez said a portion of the area had been cleared to pave the way for the road construction, in preparation for the establishment of a mountain resort.
He, however, added that the reported construction of the mountain resort was held in abeyance, after the issue of encroachment and illegal occupation of the protected area cropped up.
Jose Ma. Valencia, TFI executive officer, said they are now strengthening the legal set up between PEMO and Provincial Legal Office, in preparation for the filing of cases against those involved in the selling of the NNNP protected area to individuals who have been issued CDOs.
Valencia said they will work for air tight cases against those behind the selling of government property, to ensure their conviction. “We have to connect the sellers to the buyers, who are liable for buying it,” he added.
If there is a violation of the status quo order, he said, they will call the attention of the DENR, which had said earlier that it will issue more CDOs to occupants of the park. * GPB