Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo has ordered the enforcement bureau of the Environment and Natural Resources Division to strictly enforce regulations in mining and quarry operations in the province.

Degamo said he wants to eliminate or, at least, minimize the occurrence of illegal quarry and mining operations in the province. He said it is important to have proper monitoring of these activities and challenged them to protect and preserve the natural resources in line with effects of climate change.

Degamo said he was challenged to strengthen the enforcement and monitoring against illegal mining and quarry operations, after receiving information that some local government officials are also involved in this illegal business.

One of the small-scale mining companies operating in Barangay Maglinao, Basay town in the southern tip of Negros Oriental was found illegally operating outside the permitted area. The Infinite Mining Corporation owned by a certain Van Ho is now operating in Barangay Maglinao, Basay extracting copper and pyrite.

The governor said he personally witnessed the violation by IMC and this prompted him to immediately order the temporary suspension of its permit. IMC was made to pay the penalty of P2,000 as first offense before the suspension was lifted.

Records from the ENRD showed that IMC was granted to operate in a 20-hectare area in Barangay Maglinao for November 18, 2010 to November 18, 2012.

He added that he is also grateful to IMC for respecting the law after their attention was called during his surprise visit in the area.

Negros Oriental has issued 120 existing quarry and mining permits from 2010 to the present. In 2011 alone, 31 permits were granted, majority of them on sand and gravel.

The governor has issued a stern warning to ENRD enforcer David Norico and Jessie Kitane to strictly enforce the law and immediately call the attention of illegal operators.*MA