The Philippine National Police Commission Civil Security Group, the supervisory office for security and investigation agencies, ruled on May 19, 2021, that OUM Security Agency Group is guilty of violating the Revised Rules and Regulations Implementing RA 5457 as amended.
In the decision released by the National Headquarters of PNP CSG, OUM Security Agency Group, the security agency hired and deployed by Rublou Inc. / Green Atom Renewable Energy Corporation in the Upper Marikina Watershed, violated the Paragraph 5A(VII) of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Number 007-08 for and Paragraph a(3) Section 3, Part 2 Rule XVII of the Revised Rules and Regulations Implementing RA 5457 as amended for not complying with mandatory requirements for entering into a security agreement and disrespecting a trustee of the Masungi Georeserve respectively.
The armed guards were sighted in the watershed in October 2020. They claimed that their chairman, former police General Ticman, owns hundreds of hectares of the Upper Marikina Watershed. They also installed “private property” signs inside the protected area. However, buying and selling land in the watershed is prohibited according to the National Integrated Area System Law (NIPAS), as it defeats the purpose of restoration and conservation, as well as the protection of any indigenous domains and culture.
PNP CSG also decided that OUM Security Agency Group is guilty of Acts of Discourteousness for their posting their security personnel in the location and SG Simon Delos Santos’ verbal confrontations with a trustee of Masungi Georeserve with utmost discourtesy and disrespect.
From April to May 2021, conservationists from Masungi Foundation monitored consistent fires in one of the guards’ bases. Joint documentation missions with citizens and members of the media confirmed scores of young trees cut down, multiple new structures erected, and large tracts of the protected area illegally burned and cleared.
The Upper Marikina Watershed only has some 20% of forest cover left. Its protection and integrity are critical to prevent another disaster, like those brought by Typhoon Ondoy or Ulysses, from happening again.
We strongly condemn any exploitation of the protected area and harassment of environmentalists and thank the PNP-SOSIA for their decision which upholds the standard of discipline required of security agencies.
Let us continue to call on our leaders for the immediate removal of persistent environmental violators in the Upper Marikina Watershed to save millions of Filipinos from flooding and the loss of precious water and biodiversity.