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Governor orders probe on mining and tree-cutting 'involving' local officials

DUMAGUETE CITY, March 30 – Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has ordered an investigation into the alleged involvement of top provincial officials in mining and cutting of trees in the province.

The militant farmers’ group, Kaugmaon, headed by Librada Gablines and Marilou Alangilan, disclosed during a dialogue with the governor on Thursday that Guihulngan City Vice Mayor Guido Reyes and a certain Edison dela Rita were allegedly issued permits to cut trees in Barangay Balugo of that northern city.

The governor has also directed the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office I in Ayungon town to verify the alleged mining activity by top officials in the city.

The farmers claimed that phosphate mining is present in Barangay Imelda, Guihulngan.

Gov. Degamo clarified that as far as his office is concerned, he can only issue permits for small scale mining and quarrying, but the same was suspended after Tropical Storm Sendong hit Negros Oriental, and that he has no knowledge about big scale mining going on in the area.

He encouraged the farmers to report any abuses committed against the environment and in the same line to not allow farmers to engage in slash-and-burn in the hinterland barangays. (PNA) LAP/jfp/Juancho Gallarde

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