Provincial lawmakers have sought an inquiry into quarry sites that have been suspected of operating illegally in the wake of the landslide in Anda which claimed the lives of two quarry workers.
According to Board Member Alexie Tutor, she called for the investigation to determine the legality of quarry operations not just in Anda but across the province.
Tutor, who was floor leader during a regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on Friday, pinpointed the quarry in Duay, Duero for possible inclusion in the inquiry.
She also supported the proposal of ex-officio Board Member Romulo Cepedoza to probe the quarry operations in Brgy. Candabong, Anda where two men died on Monday due to a landslide.
Both quarry workers were buried beneath soil and rock fragments due to the landslide and were recovered two days after.
Cepedoza said in his privilege speech that the investigation will be conducted to determine who should be held liable for the fatal incident.
He noted that a previous landslide in the same quarry site almost seven years ago also resulted in the deaths of two other men including a minor.
However, the lawmaker emphasized that government officials should focus on addressing the issue instead of blaming each other.
In an earlier statement, Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio said that the Anda quarry has been operating illegally.
According to Damalerio, the quarry operation which has been intermittently ongoing for a decade lacked permits and clearances from both municipal and provincial authorities and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
“Illegal kay wa may permit, wa na aplayi nila kay matod pa lagi nila ug sa taga lungsod, ni acting mayor nga aplayan unta sauna nila pero lisod ang process anang mining claim,” said Damalerio.
“Mohatag mi’g permit basta kompleto sa ubos gikan sa PMRB [Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board] clearance, barangay resolution, Sangguniang Barangay resolution basta kompleto nang tanan hasta ECC [Environmental Compliance Certificates],” he added.
Damalerio also debunked rumors which indicated that the quarry is owned by the mayor of Anda.
He said that the quarry was already shut down in the past and fences were put up but residents tore these down and managed to continue operations without detection.
In October last year, Tutor called for the SP to convene itself into a committee of the whole to investigate the wide-scale quarrying in Garcia Hernandez.
She expressed concern over the extent of the diminished vegetation in the area after she personally saw the vast bare mountainsides where the quarries are located while she was on board an aircraft.
The lawmaker’s proposal also came after an open letter by concerned citizen Juan Lumacang III to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Bohol media practitioners on possible environmental damage caused by the quarrying in Garcia Hernandez went viral over Facebook.
“The once beautiful mountains of the Garcia Hernandez, source of water and life in the locality, are now flattened into an almost airport-size mining field,” Lumacang said.
“What benefits have it brought to the municipality and its people? I sure do know these benefits if there is any, are just a day-long benefits, not a long-term and sustainable one. We must not be blinded,” he added.
Lumacang’s original 685-word post was shared through Facebook 928 times, while a reposted version in The Bohol Chronicle’s Facebook page was shared 750 times.
The Bohol Chronicle Facebook post reached 111,256 people while Lumacang’s commentary which was posted on the newspaper’s website on October 13, 2017 was read by over 30,500 people as of Saturday. (R. Tutas)