By Liza Soriano
MANILA — Sen. Idol Raffy Tulfo criticized Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Antonio Yulo Loyzaga for the department’s failure to immediately address the security and management concerns around the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal.
Tulfo also criticized the Department for ignoring unwanted and illegal activity in the conservation region, such as the recent shooting events that were carried out by armed men prowling the area, during the Senate’s deliberations on the DENR budget.
“Marami na nga po talagang nagyaring katiwalian diyan sa Masungi, pero nagbulag-bulagan at nagbingi-bingihan lamang ang DENR,” he said.
As the DENR chose to suspend and not cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) granted to the Masungi Georeserve Foundation, Inc. (MGFI).
Tulfo recalled that two forest rangers were shot in the head and the neck on July 24, 2021, while more than 20 armed men were seen encamped in the area last September 2022.
Amid these alarming concerns, DENR continuously refused to act on the matter, reasoning that the dispute was between Masungi and the claimants of the land.
DENR also claimed that they cannot act on the matter because it was a police concern – a reasoning that Tulfo found unsatisfying.