DENR backs creation of enforcement bureau

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    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is batting for the creation of the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB) to strengthen the enforcement of the country’s environmental and mining laws.

    Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said there are four bills in the House of Representatives and two counterpart Senate bills advocating the creation of this body.

    Cimatu said the bills aim “to reform the implementation of environmental laws of the land and establish a strong institution whose singular task is to be the government’s backbone in running after violators of our environmental laws like illegal loggers and wildlife poachers.”

    Nilo Tamoria, executive director of the agency’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force, said lodging of regulatory and enforcement functions in a single office became problematic in some cases but EPEB will consolidate and strengthen DENR’s mandate to enforce environmental laws through a single office whose core function is exclusively enforcement.

    Habeas Corpuz, environmental crime division officer of the National Bureau of Investigation, said EPEB to further strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws.