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DENR wants own enforcement bureau

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday said it is eyeing to have its own law enforcement bureau amid the controversy over a resort operating in Chocolate Hills.

In a press conference, DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga said this is the longer term solution for a faster implementation of law enforcement in the department.

“We have been waiting for a law that will strengthen the enforcement capability of the DENR. One which would allow for example our enforcement to be made into a bureau itself. Those bills have been pending in Congress,” she said.

DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna said the pending bills were filed in the Senate by Senators Bong Revilla, Loren Legarda, and Nancy Binay.

In the House of Representatives, similar bills were filed by Representatives Luis Villafuerte and Angelo Barba, he added.

Currently, the DENR has to coordinate with concerned local government units, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the National Bureau of Investigation to implement orders.

“They have been helpful to us but it takes time to coordinate and then sometimes they have to get clearance and all these things. There is a process that everybody has to observe,” Cuna said.

“If we had our own enforcement bureau here in the department, we would be able to implement orders and prosecute cases if necessary in a faster manner,” he added.

On Wednesday, the DENR said it issued a temporary closure order in September 2023 and a Notice of Violation in January 2024 against Captain's Peak Resort, which was operating in the Chocolate Hills protected area.

The resort has no environmental compliance certificate (ECC), according to the DENR.

Amid imminent government action regarding its operations, the resort announced just on Wednesday evening that the resort was "temporarily closed until further notice." 

Tags: DENR