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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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‘Illegal structures being reviewed’


The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office-Negros Occidental pledged to continue its efforts to preserve the biodiversity in the Northern Negros Natural Park, and are now reviewing the cases of the illegal structures located in NNNP issued with Cease and Desist Orders.

PENR Officer Edgardo Rostata, in a statement yesterday, said PENRO-Neg. Occ. is keen on protecting conservation areas, including coastal, marine, and timberlands within its jurisdiction.

“It must be emphasized that policies and guidelines of the DENR should not solely rely on prosecution and litigation in order to address this problem of illegal structures,” he said.

The statement added that PENRO, together with the Protected Area Management Board, and NNNP-Protected Area Superintendent, will always be consistent in delivering the objective of the law, which is to secure for the Negrenses of present and future generations, the perpetual existence of the biodiversity of the Northern Negros Natural Park.

On Feb. 22, environment organization Green Alert Network-Negros Island Region has filed an administrative case against Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Edgardo Rostata, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer and Protected Area Superintendent Concordio Remoroza, and several John Does.

GAN has filed an administrative case with the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against two officials for allegedly not taking any action to remove illegal structures in the NNNP.

GAN said that officers of DENR continue to refuse to take action against the proliferation of illegal structures within the NNNP.

It also said that from 2014 to 2016, the former PENR Officer and concurrent PASu of NNNP, issued 94 illegal structures Cease and Desist Orders and those structures were reported to the Regional Director/PAMB Chairman who heads the Protected Area Management Board.

Rostata said that currently 75 percent of the illegal structures, which were re-inventoried and re-assessed, are being reviewed by the PENRO legal team and technical staff in NNNP.

Apart from reviewing the illegal structures, PENRO, PASu, and PAMB have also conducted the demolition of six illegal structures without claimants, and won 11 cases filed against the owners of illegal structures, he said.

He also said that there are many ways that PAMB and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources many ways to sustain what has been mandated by the law, and they have been implementing a community-based approach to enforce it.

Rostata also urged the groups and organizations to just walk their talk, and be part of the solution in protecting Negros Occidental’s Last Frontier.

“Conservation and protection of our environment is everyone’s responsibility and DENR – PENRO Negros Occidental, as one of the frontliners of the advocacy, actively works collaboratively with various stakeholders to eradicate the effects of illegal activities,” he said.*MLG


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