The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday, May 25, ordered the suspension of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) granted to three large-scale mining companies that encroached into the Masungi Georeserve in Baras town, Rizal province.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna signed the separate orders suspending the MPSAs of Rapid City Realty and Development Corp., Quimson Limestone, Inc., and Quarry Rock Group, Inc., as they have been non-operational since 2004.

“I am suspending the operation of those three MPSAs, and remove the companies’ authority to operate in order to remove the public’s speculation and ease their worries,” Sampulna announced in a press conference.

“I am also calling all those support groups and environmentalists to be active in helping us by reporting such illegal activities for us to take action immediately,” he added.

DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said the MGB-CALABARZON will be asked to conduct investigations of other alleged illegal quarrying activities within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL).

“We will be ordering an investigation if there are any ongoing illegal quarrying operations, despite the suspensions,” Moncano said.

In 2017, former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez and Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc. (MGFI) signed a memorandum of agreement covering the 2,798 hectares of land situated inside the UMRBPL.

The UMRBPL, in accordance with the passage of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems Act or ENIPAS Act, was declared as a protected area in 2018. ###