• MGB taps US-developed web-based tool to fight illegal mining

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    THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) will be using a web-based program starting this year that would streamline the enforcement of environmental laws to better fight illegal mining in the country.

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    The newly developed program is called the Environmental Law Enforcement Management Information System (ELEMIS).

    MGB Director Leo Jasareno said ELEMIS, which is being developed with the assistance of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, would streamline the enforcement of environmental laws through the inclusion of investigation protocols and serve as the repository of related information.

    He said this would aid field officers, managers, prosecutors and other users in gathering and preserving evidences, generating comprehensive statistical reports, allocating resources, determining investigation cases’ sensitivity levels, assessing cases and policy impacts, and monitoring of cases.

    It is also capable of linking with other related information management systems to expand its network of information sources, Jasareno said.

    MGB personnel recently attended an ELEMIS conference held in Colorado to officially start the development of the ELEMIS program.

    It was spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Knowledge and Information Systems Service, with representatives from the MGB, Biodiversity Management Bureau, Forest Management Bureau, and National Bureau of Investigation.

    MGB has already conducted a training seminar on the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases to better equip the MGB with capable technical personnel and lawyers for the increasing number of environmental cases in the past five years, and with the possibility of more environmental cases involving mining.

    The seminar was also aimed at providing technical personnel with adequate knowledge on legal principles and proceedings and to organize a pool of confident and competent potential witnesses in the MGB Central and Regional Offices.

    A court trial simulation was also held where participants played the roles of lawyers, judges and witnesses to give MGB personnel a more active and in-depth participation in cases filed in courts.

    Engr. Larry Heradez, officer-in-charge of the Legal Service Division, said that the training seminar was timely considering that environmental cases filed in different courts have been increasing.

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