Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation-Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) arrested eight persons and seized equipment and minerals worth almost P4 million, for illegal quarrying in Tarlac City.
The NBI said the operations were in line with the continuing effort of the NBI against environmental crimes.
NBI Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Eric Distor identified the suspects as Rene Santiago, Joseph Acuña, Norman Ibasco, Jeovy Mojello, Raul Laxamana, Ernesto Torres, Reynaldo Balajadia, and Ryan Santos.
One suspect identified as Mark John M. Gopez is currently at large.
Charges for violation of Section 3 of R.A. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act of 1995) were filed before the Office of the Prosecutor General, Department of Justice, against the eight arrested suspects, and one at-large suspect.
NBI agents seized heavy equipment and minerals found at the quarry site with a total value of P3,942,000.00.
Suspects were arrested in an operation which stemmed from an information that a quarry operation and processing of minerals in Brgy. Telabanca, Concepcion, Tarlac was operating without the necessary permit from the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board of the Province of Tarlac and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region III (DENR-MGB Region III).
Surveillance operation was conducted at the quarry area and vibro plant, and thereat, operatives observed several trucks coming in and out of the quarry site.
Trucks coming in the quarry site were going out loaded with minerals.
Also seen in the area were equipment being used in the extraction, disposition and processing of minerals. Operatives also witnessed several stockpiles of sand and mineral products (vibro sand) present in the quarry site which clearly manifests that there was an ongoing mining operation.
Based on the updated List of Quarry Permits as of January 28, 2020 provided by the Office of the Governor, Province of Tarlac, there are no issued quarry permits in Brgy. Telabanca, Concepcion, Tarlac. In another certification of MGB-Region III, there are only two mining tenements (Industrial Sand and Gravel Permit) issued in the province of Tarlac.
On June 2, 2020, NBI-EnCD operatives, together with personnel from the DENR-MGB Region III, conducted the operation against the illegal quarry operation at J2KAT Vibro Sand Trading in Brgy. Telabanca, Concepcion, Tarlac.
Upon arriving at the area, operatives immediately noticed a vibro plant currently operating and backhoe equipment extracting minerals from the area.
Not far from the area was a truck unloading a mineral waste coming from the vibro plant. Operatives managed to control the driver identified as Santiago as well as the three vibro plant operators and one vibro electrician identified as Acuña, Ibasco, Mojello, and Laxamana, respectively.
The site/plant manager and the owner of the lot where the vibro plant and stock pile is located were identified as Torres and Balajadia, respectively.