September 26 - October 09, 2005

Pebbles cargo apprehended in SN

San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte—In its intensified effort to protect the environment, the San Nicolas Philippine National Police (PNP) has apprehended a 16-wheeler cargo truck containing a truckload of pebbles on September 28.

Based on the police report, the said truck was heading to the southern portion of the province and was flagged down at a PNP checkpoint along the national highway of this town.

The pebbles were reportedly taken from the coastal barangay of Carauan in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte where local residents continue to thrive on pebble picking as their main means of livelihood despite the prohibition from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

According to environment officials, Pasuquin residents had already been warned of the massive siltation along the town’s riverbanks due to the unabated pebble picking. In view of this, the Pasuquin municipal government has provided these people depending on pebble picking an alternative means of livelihood so they could do away with the environmentally degrading activity.

However, many Pasuquin residents had stubbornly resisted, preferring their traditional livelihood, claiming they make more profit out of it compared to the livelihood offered by their local government unit.

As a result of this, environment officials in the province had been tagged as “lousy” for their inability to prevent pebble picking in the said municipality.

When asked for comment, Ilocos Norte Governor Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said there are certain rules and regulations the government has to strictly implement in cases of violations like these.

Marcos added that the provincial government had tried all ways and means to prevent Pasuquin residents from engaging in the illegal activity but the said people had remained adamant and has instead stuck to their traditional livelihood even if they now this would result in environmental problems later on.

The governor added that provincial environment officials are strictly implementing the laws on these cases.

The apprehended pebbles cargo is expected to be turned over to the DENR.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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