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PIA Press Release

PEMO special task force uncovers illegal prawn farm in Malimono

by Marx Rev A. Buenavidez

Butuan City (8 February) -- The created Provincial Environment and Management Office (PEMO) Special Task Force carried out a joint field investigation verification report on an illegal large scale prawn farm located along the boundaries of Brgy. Can-aga and Brgy. Pili, Malimono just recently.

The Special Task Force are composed of PEMO, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) duly assigned to monitor and assess the operation of the said business establishment owned and registered in the name of de Oro Resources, Inc. and managed and represented by Louie A. Libarios.

They were assisted by Local Government Units (LGU) Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) headed by the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) and was required based on a Provincial Memorandum issued by the Office of the Governor.

Upon investigation, the team found out that the said business firm did not comply with the General Principles and Guidelines of Sec. 2, 3 and 5 of Fisheries Administrative Order No. 214 series of 2001 otherwise known as "The Code of Practice for Aquaculture." It was learned that the investigated 8-pond prawn farm violated rules pertaining to the safety and protection of the environment which are improper waste management and non-compliance of the standard environmental protection and conservation. The team managed to document some images showing wastewater flowing freely causing water contamination within the vicinity.

In addition, some legal requirements were not met by de Oro Resources, Inc., namely the Land Use Conversion Application from the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office and the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) approved from EMB-DENR. The latter is one of the fundamental regulatory requirements for a fishpond development.

The team recommended that the de Oro Resources, Inc. should secure and comply with all the regulatory requirements needed for a fishpond development which includes duly approved Land Use Conversion Certificate from the Department of Agrarian Reform and Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). Moreover, the team proposed that such business firm should consider in safeguarding and protecting the environment. The team hoped for an immediate action to be undertaken and that legal sanctions should be imposed based on the violations made as provided by law.

"Since the advent of the province-wide Clean Up Surigao activity and the announcement of President Arroyo about illegal activities in the province during the landslide incident last November 23, 2007, we are seriously and continuously emphasizing and enforcing environmental laws and policies in order to control and reduce damages and contamination to the environment," said Gov. Robert Ace S. Barbers. "With the help of the people and other sectors, we can make a step forward in protecting and conserving the environment thus creating our province a safer and better place to live in," Gov. Barbers added.

The Special Task Force consisted of a 4-member investigating team led by Victor N. Cruje from PEMO, Antonio Perral from PAO, Norberto Alipao, Jr. from DENR, Emilio Gulle from BFAR, and assisted by the municipality of Malimono headed by Engr. Neil P. Ampater, designated MENRO, together with Jean Geraldino and Debora Enojales from MAO. (PIA-Surigao del Norte) [top]

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