Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Thursday warned the public against fake DENR employees targeting mining and logging firms.
The department discovered a group of people in Surigao del Sur using its name in conducting unauthorized operations against logging and mining companies in the province.
“We do not condone the use of the name of our department in any transaction without prior knowledge and consent of any DENR official,” Cimatu said.
“We want to warn the general public to be more cautious in dealing with people who claim to be employees of the department.”
Cimatu threatened to hold liable to the full extent of the law anyone or any group that would try to use the name of the DENR for illegal operations.
“We will make sure that these people will face the legal repercussions of committing such misconduct,” he said.
Citing a report of the DENR in the Caraga region, nine people who introduced themselves as members of a DENR task force were arrested by the Carrascal municipal police in Surigao del Sur on Jan. 27.
The nine conducted two unauthorized operations against logging and mining companies in Surigao del Sur, where they were able to present a letter bearing the DENR’s logo and signed by one of them who posed as the leader of the group.
They wore shirts with a DENR logo and identification cards bearing the signature of several agency officials, including Cimatu.
Arrested were Francisco Dagohoy, Arnel Arniego, Roberto Don Jr., Junie Duero, Melbert Pami, Rogelio Lismoner, Bon Jovi Arreza, Joaquin Lumapguid and Elma Talip.
Marslou Bonita, Cantillan’s community environment and natural resources officer, was able to secure a document from the group identifying them as part of the Moral Advancement and Corruption Prevention Advocacy, an organization that allegedly advocates the eradication of graft and corrupt activities.
But he denied deputizing the group to enforce environmental laws.