DENR finds mangrove and coral 'corpses' used as foundation for 5-hectare Palawan subdivision

DENR finds mangrove and coral 'corpses' used as foundation for 5-hectare Palawan subdivision

- Officers from DENR led by Undersecretary Art Valdez has cracked down on the Palawan wildlife 'killers' on Wednesday

- In a Facebook post made by DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, she announced that the head of this mangrove-and-coral-killing group was arrested

- She also left a message lambasting the provincial director of the PNP, for coddling the group

Operatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led by Undersecretary Art Valdez has cracked down on the Palawan wildlife 'killers' on Wednesday, February 1.

In a Facebook post made by DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, Valdez, along with the operatives from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine Army arrested Rafael Cervantes and his men for their 5-hectare operations inside a mangrove reserve in Sitio Barimbing, Barangay San Manuel, Puerto Princesa.

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Rafael Cervantes, alleged head of the illegal operation in Puerto Princesa Photo credit: Gina Lopez Facebook

She called out the local authorities including provincial director of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Ruben Sarmiento, for "resisting our operations and coddling Cervantes and his group!"

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"We found corpses of mangroves and corals piled up as a foundation for the subdivision they were building! This is unacceptable!!" Lopez said.

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Mangrove and coral 'corpses' found in a 5-hectare Palawan subdivision development Photo credit: Gina Lopez Facebook

In September 2016, Rafael Cervantes, the alleged head of the illegal operation within the reserve had denied the allegations about ordering the 'killing of the mangroves' saying it was beyond his property.

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Mangrove and coral reserve before and after

Dubbed the Philippines’ “Last Ecological Frontier,” Palawan houses 31 species of mangroves in a 44,500-hectare coastal forest that protects 35% of the Philippines’ coral reefs.

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Consequently, the mangrove-killing operations had occurred in a government-owned facility, which translates to a life in prison for the person involved.

The act in itself, according to Lopez, had been blatant thievery against the government and the environment and is worth billions in pesos.

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Source: Kami.com.ph

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