The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS), apprehended 14 miners for conducting unauthorized quarrying activities in Waan, Davao City on December 11, 2021.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu underscored the need for continuous apprehension of environmental criminals to "deter potential culprits and discourage them from violating existing environmental laws."

Cimatu issued the statement following the enforcement operation at Brgy. Waan, Buhangin District, Davao City that led to the arrest of 14 individuals and confiscation of 14 equipment.

"Our achievements in 2021 are further bolstered with our enforcement activities, especially when it comes to anti-illegal wildlife trading, anti-illegal logging, and anti-illegal mining and quarrying activities," Cimatu said.

Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte had issued a cease and desist order (CDO) on March 7, 2021, after the operators neglected the previous CDOs issued by the City Mining Regulatory Board from 2018 to 2020.

The operation was participated in by the ELEPS together with the DENR-Region 11, Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 11, Davao City Police, Davao City Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Task Force Davao and Public Safety and Security Command.

The arrested miners will be undergoing legal procedures in violation of Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito Antonio De Leon said that the "continual success of the ELEPS operations proves that the DENR needs an enforcement bureau to further bolster its current triumphs."

"May our victories catch the eye of our legislators to ensure that this kind of work would continue, even beyond the current administration," De Leon said.

In recent months, ELEPS also led the arrest of individuals involved in illegal quarrying activities including the unauthorized operations inside the Taal Volcano Protected Area Landscape. ###