The local court ordered common-law spouses Fernando Bumanlag and Monica Villanueva of Barangay Luzviminda, Puerto Princesa City to pay the fine of P10,000 each and P19,800 civil liability, or a total of P39,800 for thieves of minerals.
They were extracting aggregates without securing proper permits from the City Government of Puerto Princesa specifically from the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB).
Presiding Judge Enrique C. Selda of Municipal Trial Court in Cities 4th Judicial Region, Branch 3, Puerto Princesa rendered his judgement on July 24, 2020, and found Bumanlag and Villanueva guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of thieves of minerals punishable under Section 103 of Republic Act 7942 also known as Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
It was four years ago, or in 2016 when Forest Ranger Palermo Bangloy and Alonzo Padon, both personnel of the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office caught Bumanlag, Villanueva and one Rico de los Santos extracting and hauling aggregates near the bridge of Barangay Luzviminda with the use of improvised tricycle locally known as tora-tora.
Atty. Carlo B. Gomez, the City Environment and Natural Resources Officer said that this is to send a clear message that the City Government no longer tolerate commission of quarry/mineral thievery.
Unregulated extraction of minerals and other quarry resources in the City has adverse effect to the environment, therefore, the regular monitoring and enforcement by our government agencies are deterrent to illegal activities. Enforcing the law against unregulated mineral extraction is necessary to protect our fragile natural environment.
Sand and gravel mining aimed primarily in providing materials for infrastructure development. The rapid urbanization, construction boom brought about by government infrastructure projects, housing subdivision projects, and other developments, as observed in Puerto Princesa City these past few years, significantly contributed to the increase in the demands of construction materials.
However, the impacts of sand and gravel mining could also cause disturbances to ecological balance, since it is closely related to land use change and river degradation. For this reason, the regulation and proper management by the City Government are needed to preserve the ecological balance and reduce the negative impacts of sand and gravel extraction, and therefore guarantee sustainable development.