DENR to close down quarry operations encroaching Masungi Georeserve

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — The Environment Department will shut down a quarrying operation found encroaching on a Rizal georeserve's protected area.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu visited Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal on Tuesday where he personally saw the barbed wires put up by Rapid City Realty and Development Corp. on trees to cordon off Masungi's reforestation work.

"The Secretary vowed to close down the quarry and cancel the multiple MPSA's (mineral production sharing agreement) issued in the protected area and reforestation site," DENR said on its Facebook page.

Masungi Georeserve said the encroachment was discovered on February 26. It said the quarrying operations are affecting its efforts to restore 3,000 hectares of degraded land as the the area that was fenced by the firm was located in the middle of its 500-hectare designated reforestation site.

"We found a portion of the site assigned to us blocked off by barbed wires by a quarry company. The area is part of the Upper Marikina Watershed and the proposed Masungi Strict Nature Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary where extractive activities are banned," Masungi Georeserve said on its Facebook page.

Masungi Georeserve is widely known for its unorthodox approach to trekking, as visitors usually go through canopy walks, web-like viewing platforms, and a massive hammock that hangs on the karst. Its mission is to also conserve and protect the area from daily threats such as quarrying, illegal logging, and deforestation.