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Dumaguete City, Philippines Friday, February 26, 2016
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Mayor's vehicles seized
for mining ordinance violation

Senior Supt. Harris Fama, officer-in-charge of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, said two heavy equipment, owned by Pamplona Mayor Apollo Arnaiz, were impounded recently, for violation of the Negros Oriental Mining Ordinance.

Fama said a payloader and a Cobra truck, loaded with “balastro” allegedly extracted from the Tanjay River in Sitio Tuwang, Barangay Poblacion, Pamplona at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, are under the custody of the Pamplona Police Station.

Jay Mananquil, a deputized enforcer of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in an interview that those manning the heavy equipment failed to present necessary documents, such as the extraction permit and delivery receipts. The Cobra truck also had no canvas cover.

Seizure receipts were issued to payloader driver Renante Belarmino, and truck driver Efren Rodriguez, in the absence of any supporting documents. Both told Mananquil they were merely instructed by the mayor to extract “balastro” from the area. During the conference with the mayor, Mananquil said Arnaiz had also claimed ownership of the Cobra vehicle.

Mananquil said he is aware of the consequences, but he has to enforce the law fairly whoever is involved, whether rich or poor.

Last month, he had also flagged down the 10-wheeler truck of Mayor Albert Ator of Siaton town, for alleged illegal hauling activities of natural resources in the municipality.*JG


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