Aerial photo of the aftermath of typhoon “Ulysses” in Cagayan (Photo from Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go)

Malacañang on Monday admitted the need for stricter implementation of anti-illegal mining measures in the country as authorities in typhoon-battered Cagayan reported that unauthorized mining activities have persisted in the region.

“The PNP (Philippine National Police) will have to more or less come up with an explanation on why there was unauthorized mining activities in the area ‘no because that’s that matter also of enforcement,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

“So in that sense, there may have been lapses na mayroong illegal mining activities ongoing which should have been stopped,” he added.

In a typhoon briefing on Sunday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said that his agency had not issued mining permits in Cagayan, where 10 died due to landslides in mining areas.

“There’s no mining area given permit, sir. In fact there is no ano doon except the small scale mining — this illegal one. So illegal mining po itong mga lugar ‘yung namatay. So we have filed cases already and cease and desist order for these crooked people,” Cimatu said.

During the same briefing, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to investigate reports of illegal logging and mining in Cagayan.

As of Sunday, 3 p.m., the flooding in Cagayan has affected 316,520 individuals in 26 municipalities. John Ezekiel J. Hirro