Castro suspends quarry operations

By Edith B. Colmo

CAPIZ Governor Fredinel Castro has issued an executive order mandating the temporary suspension effective immediately of all quarry operations in the province and creating an Interagency Task Force to address issues and concerns on all quarry operations to ensure environmental protection. Castro said quarry products such as sand, gravel, boulders, earth fill, and other materials, are essential components used in construction and infrastructure projects, which also support the economic growth of the province.

However, there are several complaints relative to the quarrying activities which prompted him to order the temporary suspension of quarry operations to the permit holders until such time they comply with all laws, rules, and regulations determined by the provincial government. The said EO also stated that the suspension of quarry operations is tantamount to no quarry permit issued, thus, failure to comply shall be deemed a violation of the quarry permit and shall cause its revocation without prejudice to the fi ling of appropriated cases.

The quarry operators are also ordered to submit a report on compliance with all laws, rules and regulations pertinent to their quarry operations.

Failure to do so shall cause the revocation of their quarry permits.

Lawyer Myra Cristela Yngcong from the Office of the Governor was appointed chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force, which will address the issues and concerns relative to the quarrying activities.

Also part of the task force were representatives from the Bureau of Mines and Geo Sciences of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), media, and other nongovernment organizations.

The EO also enjoined the Capiz Provincial Police Office and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Capiz to assist the task force that no quarry operation will be permitted until the order is lifted.

However, the task force may grant Special Temporary Permit to quarry operators under very stringent terms and conditions.*