DENR suspends land deal with alleged cult Socorro Bayanihan due to violations
DENR suspends land deal with alleged cult Socorro Bayanihan due to violations
DENR suspends land deal with alleged cult Socorro Bayanihan due to violations
by Ellicia Del Mundo01 October 2023
Screengrab from SBSI Facebook video

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has suspended the land agreement that formally authorizes alleged religous cult, Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI) to occupy 353 hectares of land in Brgy. Sering in the Municipality of Socorro, Surigao del Norte.

In a statement issued on Sept. 29, the DENR said the suspension was ordered while the probe into the alleged violation of the group in the Protected Area Community-Based Resource Management (PACBRMA) is pending.

A suspension letter penned by Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga was issued to SBSI, the environment department said.

According to the DENR, the group received the PACBRMA in 2004, and under the land agreement, the SBSI “was granted certain rights and privileges over the awarded area within its established multiple-use zone” for 25 years.

Photo courtesy: DENR


In 2019, the environment department said it started the probe into the group’s alleged illegal activities and found that it violated the following:

  • Restriction of entry in the area
  • Establishment of checkpoints and military-like training
  • Resignation of teachers, uniformed personnel, and barangay officials
  • Establishment of structures within the PACBRMA area

“Subsequently, inter-governmental efforts were made to address the concerns raised against SBSI and to get them to comply with the terms of PACBRMA,” DENR said.

It said that the aforementioned violation recurred again in 2021 and 2022 which prompted the issuance of notices.

“In both instances, there was no response from them,” the environment department stated.


The DENR vowed that it shall work closely with concerned government agencies to “ensure the smooth and peaceful enforcement of the suspension notice” and “the possible resettlement of the occupants.”

The suspension of the land agreement was issued a day after that the Senate probed into the alleged sexual abuses, child labor, child marriages, and other violences within the SBSI.

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