The top brass of a big developer is in for trouble with the recent discovery by the National Bureau of Investigation-Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) that a subdivision is being built on 23 hectares of forest land and wetlands covered with mangroves.
Prior to the discovery of the illegal land conversion, NBI agents led by Atty. Czar Eric Nuque, chief of the NBI-EnCD, implemented surveillance operations after receiving information about the illegal activities at Barangay Babag, Lapu-Lapu City, particularly inside Pueblo de Oro Subdivision.
NBI Deputy Director Vicente de Guzman said their office received the raw information about the matter.
Surveillance activities confirmed that subdivision owner Pueblo de Oro Development Corp. (PDODC) was converting the wetlands covered with mangrove near the sea.
NBI-EnCD operatives decided to proceed with the operation with the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cebu and NBI-Central Visayas Regional Office (NBI-CEVRO).
The operation resulted in the arrest of eight individuals including head engineer Roleda Benjamin Yu, engineer Charlie Sumalpong and the drivers of the heavy equipment.
They were caught conducting earth-moving operations and dumping materials in the forest land pursuant to the plan to convert said area into residential lots.
Nuque said these activities are a big violation of environmental laws particularly mangrove conversion, aquatic pollution and other laws pertaining to environmental protection.
The agents likewise discovered that the lands had already been given titles and many parcels of the subdivision already pre-sold.
Aside from the officials of PDODC, the NBI may also hold responsible the local government unit for allowing the conversion of said forest and wetlands into a subdivision.