Gov. Roel Degamo has vowed to run after those engaged in destructive mining activities, specifically small-scale mining, and illegal quarry operators in Negros Oriental, without fear or favor.

He said this at the recent clergy meeting of the Diocese of Dumaguete when a priest raised the issue of mining in the province.

Degamo said a review is going on as to which small-scale mining activities in the province are destructive to the environment and need to be halted.

Under the law, the provincial government has authority over small-scale mining and can cancel locally issued permits when warranted, he said.

While the national government has jurisdiction over large-scale mining operation, Degamo said his administration will assert its right to protect the province from wanton destruction due to mining.

He said he will create a composite group that will review the status of mining in the province and enforce laws. The group will be composed of representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the provincial Environment and Natural Resources Division, Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army.

A priest said mining operators who failed to obtain permits from the regional office of the DENR in Cebu tend to secure them in the Western Visayas regional office, and operate in Negros Oriental.*JFP