Environment department urged to probe violations in Marikina Watershed

April 27, 2022

The Office of the President on Tuesday has urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to act on alleged environmental violations in the Marikina Watershed.

Martin M. Andanar, Presidential Communications Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson, said the department must “look into the matter and file the necessary charges against violators.” 

Andanar expressed concern about reports of illegal activities including quarrying and illegal constructions inside the Masungi and Upper Marikina Watershed. 

“Safeguarding the environment and natural resources is an important component in our sustainable development,” said Andanar.

On April 25, more than 30 environmentalists and advocates appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) found within the protected area and uphold the Masungi Geopark Project.

“We believe these are more than enough grounds to merit the expeditious cancellation of the said MPSAs,” the environmentalists said in a statement.

The environmentalists condemned the move of certain officials “to approve similarly harmful and contradictory activities inside the protected area.”

“It is ironic and disheartening that instead of canceling the quarrying agreements and removing illegal permanent structures, there are now threats of removing the award-winning reforestation work of the Masungi Georeserve Foundation in the area,” the statement read.

The environmentalists said it is clear that the “imperative to put environmental conservation first and to work with different sectors to protect and restore” the watershed and the landscape. 

“Quarrying must be stopped. Conservation must proceed. The ecosystem restoration efforts of Masungi and other non-government organizations must be fully supported and expanded,” the statement read.  

“They have a critical role in augmenting management gaps and providing vital oversight in forest and biodiversity protection,” it added. 

The administration of the Masungi Geopark Project expressed its gratitude to Andanar and called on the government to prosecute both private entities and government officials who are abusing our forests and risking the lives of defenders to the detriment of the public.”

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