DILG clarifies no armed encampment in Masungi

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — Following reports of alleged armed “invaders,” the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday clarified there’s no armed encampment at the Masungi Georeserve in Tanay, Rizal.

Earlier in the week, caretakers of the nature reserve sought government’s help after learning that over 30 armed men were encamped at Km. 48 of the Marcos-Infanta Highway, which is part of the conservation site.

READ: Masungi caretakers seek gov’t action as armed ‘invaders’ remain encamped near site

During an inspection with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), DILG chief Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. said, “the cars captured in photos were in line for a nearby car repair shop.”

Abalos also noted that armed men and other claimants need to secure a permit from authorities prior to entering the protected site.

“Security or armed forces are not allowed to enter the area without a permit from the PNP especially in a location where there is a contest on the claim of land,” he said.

A court order and a DENR order are needed for claimants, the DILG chief said, noting that any claim or survey plans need to undergo a process to evaluate its veracity.

“The DENR can benchmark this and identify each and every occupants and claimants. Kami sa DILG ay tutulong upang huwag nang dumami ito [The DILG will help so there will be no more additions to these],” Abalos said.

For his part, Masungi Georeserve Conservation president Ben Dumaliang said they are protecting the 3,000-hectare land to bring it back to the government because the area has been “occupied and claimed by individuals, persons, and businessmen for themselves.”

RELATED: PNP orders sustained police presence in Masungi Georeserve