Roque to protectors of illegal logging, mining: There's blood on your hands

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — The Palace sternly reminds mayors they are complicit in illegal logging and illegal mining should they be proven to have protected these activities, adding they risk removal from public office and even criminal charges.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the reminder Tuesday, noting that Interior Secretary Eduardo Año is already investigating the matter. The DILG chief has already ordered a crackdown on illegal logging and mining across the country, with the Philippine National Police at the helm.

"Depending on the final results of the investigation, pupwede pong matanggal sa puwesto iyang mga mayor na iyan at pupwede ring kasuhan ng kasong kriminal," Roque explained.

[Translation: Mayors involved might be removed from office and even served criminal charges.]

"You will have blood in your hands kung puprotektahan ninyo po ang mga [if you are protecting] illegal miners at [and] illegal loggers," he added.

Año also reminded local governments to conduct upland monitoring to ensure no illegal logging, kaingin (slash-and-burn), and other forms of forest destruction are being done in their areas. LGUs must also reactivate their local Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force, he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to investigate illegal logging and mining activities in Cagayan Valley, which is among the regions worst hit by Typhoon Ulysses. Cease-and-desist orders have already been issued against small-scale mining operations, according to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Typhoon Ulysses has left billions of pesos in damage to infrastructure and agriculture in the country, on top of losses incurred by farmers and fisherfolk from Typhoon Quinta and Super Typhoon Rolly.