The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has apprehended six individuals who were conducting quarrying activities in the town of Lian in Batangas province without the necessary permits.

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the apprehension of the quarry workers is "another proof of the DENR's continuing commitment during this quarantine period even when mobility restrictions are still impeding enforcement operations."

"The arrest of this group of individuals is also a testimony why we need an enforcement bureau in the DENR. Through this health crisis, we laud the continuing endeavors of the men and women serving the Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS) to apprehend the culprits," Cimatu said.

The DENR-ELEPS—together with the Environmental Crime Division of the National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau in CALABARZON—has conducted a joint-surveillance activity to verify reports that quarry operations at Sitio Matuod, Brgy. Binubusan in the municipality of Lian was still ongoing despite the cease and desist order previously issued to the owner identified as Francis Limjoco III.

On June 24, the joint operatives were able to confiscate four units of backhoe and five dump trucks—including the illegally sourced minerals called andesite, a type of volcanic rock—with an estimated value of P32,038,500.

Based on the list of existing holders of Special Permit to Transport and Dispose of the Batangas Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, no transport permit was issued in Lian town.

The DENR-MGB in CALABARZON also issued a certification stating that there was no valid Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) that was granted within the said municipality.

MPSA is an agreement wherein the government shares in the production of the contractor, whether in kind or in value, as an owner of the minerals. In return, the contractor shall provide the necessary financing, technology, management, and personnel for the mining project.

Those charged for violating Section 103 of Republic Act 7942 (RA) or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 were Rodel Marinduque, Francis Dacuya, Claudio Tamayo, Jovencio Malabanan, Roger Betonia, and Sonny Marinduque.

Section 103 of RA 7942 states that "any person extracting minerals and disposing the same without a mining agreement, lease, permit, license, or steals minerals shall be imprisoned from six months to six years or pay a fine from P10,000 to P20,000." ###