Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Secretary Emmanuel Piñol described as “outrageous” the illegal mining operations and illegal cutting of hardwood trees inside the Mt. Apo protected area.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Piñol said the mining and cutting of trees were uncovered by a team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) North Cotabato inside the Mt. Apo protected area in Barangay Don Panaca, Magpet town.
“What makes this discovery totally outrageous was the confirmation that local officials, allegedly protected by Army soldiers, are behind the mining and clearing operations inside one (of) the last remaining forest areas of Mindanao,” Piñol said.
He said the poachers have started planting bananas in the areas cleared of natural growing trees in an attempt to cover the logged areas.
“I have directed officials of the MinDA to coordinate with the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau to get to the bottom of this,” Piñol, the MinDA secretary who hails in Kidapawan City and a known environmentalist, said.
He said he was preparing a report to be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte so that the encroachment into the Mt. Apo forest reserves will be stopped immediately.
Source: Philippines News agency