Capitol environment chief dismisses threat
Barely a month since his appointment as interim head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. said he is now receiving death threats from angry haulers.
But Tribunalo who assumed office last June 3 said he is not threatened. “There are only talks. A lot of people are telling me to be careful. I said I’m just doing the right thing,” Tribunalo said.
He recalled a June 7 incident at a checkpoint in Balamban town in which he flagged down several delivery trucks. He said resistance and anger is a normal reaction from apprehended drivers.
“For me, it’s just normal. I talked to him and he started threatening me, like “bantay lang ka, sige lang, magkita ra nya te (watch out. We’ll see each other again)” with leering eyes. I said please, let’s not do that. I’m a good person and I believe you’re also a good person. We’re civilized people. Protecting the environment is very important and we should all protect it,” he told reporters while recalling the incident.
Tribunalo, who also heads the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said he again met the person who threatened him a week later when 23 representatives of hauling companies went to the Capitol to meet with him concerning the recent operations conducted by PENRO.
He said the person, whose name he could no longer remember apologized to him after the meeting.
Although he hasn’t personally received any more threats personally after that incident, Tribunalo said he’s been told by colleagues to be careful in dealing with haulers since they’ve also heard threats against him.
Among the usual violations made by delivery trucks carrying sand or gravel include having none or open-dated delivery receipts which are usually recycled; and overloading their trucks since the provincial tax revenue code only allows 10 cubic meters of sand to be loaded in delivery trucks.
The PENRO earlier reported that since Tribunalo assumed office last June 3, they have recorded P240,000 worth of violations. Each violation incurred costs P10,000.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III earlier said he ordered the PENRO to review all permits granted to haulers and quarrying operators in the province to make sure that there is no over extraction in the province’s mountains.
It was also Davide, in his press conference yesterday, who talked about the threats being received by Tribunalo. “I hope they won’t do it. We have to look into how we can really regulate. We have a provincial ordinance that we have to observe,” Davide said.
He said there should be a balance between business and protection of the environment.
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