General Debold Sinas, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has ordered a crackdown on illegal mining and logging activities in the Cagayan Valley following the widespread flooding in the region, especially in the provinces of Isabela and Cagayan.

sinas - Sinas orders crackdown on illegal mining, logging in Cagayan Valley after massive flooding
PNP Chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Sinas issued the order as local residents blamed mining and logging activities as one of the reasons behind the landslides and massive flooding that swept various areas in the region during the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses.”

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said Sinas has already directed Brig. Gen. Crizado Nieves, Cagayan Valley regional police director, to coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“These are but some of the issues discussed at the National Headquarters. These environmental violations should be given focus,” said Usana.

“We will not hesitate to stop these activities if they violate existing environmental laws,” he added.

Scores of local residents died in Cagayan and Isabela due to the flooding and  landslides while hundreds more were trapped in their homes at the height of the flooding.

Nieves, for his part, said they have been actively coordinating with the DENR even before to stop illegal logging activities in the region.

In fact, he said they were able to confiscate 177,000 board feet of illegally cut logs since February this year.

He added that three policemen were among the more than 400 illegal loggers who were arrested this year.

“Since I assume four months ago, it is being addressed strictly with DENR and we created a task force with all law enforcement agencies,” said Nieves.

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