DENR suspends quarry ops in Bicol

October 08, 2018

LEGAZPI City -- Even as  the Environment and Natural Resources Sec. Roy Cimatu has lifted the stoppage order on the operation of quarry sites in most of the eight regions in the country, most quarry operations in Bicol region remain suspended as the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-DENR) continued its assessment of many critical quarry sites.

Cris Oropesa, MGB head of a task force in-charge of quarry assessment, said in Camarines Sur, only the Orophil Stonecraft in Baao town had passed the assessment and given clearance to resume operation while validations of other quarry operators in the region continue.

Oropesa said their task force recommends for a quarry operation to continue if it complies with environmental requirement and the MGB regional director has given the clearance to operate.

In Albay, where most quarry operations are  found along river arteries at the base of Mt. Mayon, many quarry operators were found violating the boundaries of operation often threatening populated communities along river banks.

Elena Pascual, owner of a quarry corporation in the province, said that with the prevailing suspension order by MGB, they are already at the brink of closure as they don’t have stocks.

“If the suspension order continues, we will be force to shut-down operation and lay-off our employees,” Pascual said.

Meanwhile, in CamNorte, Gov. Jonah Pimentel said the problem in the province is not the environmental violation of quarry operators but operators engaged in gravel and sand extraction lacking permits.

Gov. Pimentel said that over the week, he had convened a provincial board for mines and quarry operation, which include the MGB and EMB, to conduct ocular inspections in at least 31 gravel and sand operators in Daet, San Vicente, Labo, Sta. Elena and Basud.