MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has signed its Protected Area Community-Based Resource Management Agreement (PACBRMA) with Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) suspended, it announced on Friday.
According to her statement, DENR Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga has issued a suspension letter because the SBSI has not adhered to the terms of the agreement.
The PACBRMA allows migrant groups to develop and maintain a protected area for 25 years. The SBSI was awarded the agreement in 2004.
The DENR added that it initiated an investigation in 2019 into the alleged activities of the SBSI over violations of the PACBRMA, including restriction of access to the area; the establishment of checkpoints and military-like training; dismissal of teachers, uniformed personnel and barangay officials; and establishment of structures in the PACBRMA area.
The SBSI submitted its Community-Based Resource Management Plan in 2019 but was rejected by the DENR due to the above violations. In 2021 and 2022, the DENR drew the attention of the SSBSI to its violations, but received no response.
The DENR also said in its statement that it will work with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Social Affairs and Development, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte to peacefully end the suspension to force. and for the relocation of the residents.
Currently, SBSI leader Jey Rence Quilario, alias Senior Aguila, is under investigation by the Senate over the organization’s alleged illegal practices, including forced child marriage and other sexual crimes.
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