TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Cagayan government Quarry Division Chief Edwin Buendia said, although many quarry sites in Penablanca may be reopened, some quarry sites may face closure once they issue environmental compliance certificates (ECC).
This after Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau, and Cagayan Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office recently delineated quarry areas along Pinacanauan de Tuguegarao river to identify which quarry operations will be issued ECCs.
Buendia said the delineation will determine to what extent quarry sites are allowed to operate.
“Nalulungkot tayo dahil merong mga operations na nakita natin na hindi sumusunod sa palatuntunan ng mga quarry. Nagkalat ang kanilang mga waste sa gitna ng tubig,” the quarry chief said.
He added that some sites will be put down because these are near river embankments.
“Nahaharang yung mga daanan natin. Kung saan-saan dumadaan yung tubig natin at ayaw natin itong makasira sa ating mga kalupaan dito sa Penablanca,” he added.
He said they will be able to identify recommended quarry sites by Friday and submit a report to the Provincial Management Regulatory Board by next week. An exit conference will also be held before the team finalize which quarry sites will be opened and closed.
Meanwhile, Buendia assured that quarry sites recommended by the team will be issued an ECC by EMB Director Cesar Siador. “Importante lang na magcomply ang applicants sa lahat ng requirements na hinihingi ng EMB,” he said.
The quarry chief said that they will wait for the findings of MGB central office before PMRB hands letters to operators, ordering them to rehabilitate or face temporary suspension until they clear their wastes.
When asked if this will affect Cagayan’s improved quarry tax collection, Buendia said that they will always consider the environment first over high quarry revenue.
“Aanhin natin ang malaking collection kung masisira naman ang kalikasan natin. Although gusto natin na makakolekta ng malaki sa quarry pero kung ang kapalit naman nito ay ang pagkasira ng ating kalikasan, ay hindi po natin isasaalang-alang,” he said.
Buendia added that they are aiming for a sustainable way to collect tax revenue while conserving the province’s environment.
As of this writing, the quarry tax revenue of Cagayan has reached up to P70 million, Buendia said. The quarry chief claims that this is up 1000% from last year’s collection.
He added that it will be a “bonus” for the province if they could collect P75 million by the end of the year.
With this, Buendia reminded quarry operators who may face closure to head to the Provincial Treasury’s Office and pay the necessary fees and charges.
Meanwhile, he credited the province’s 81 “Bantay Quarry” checkers for ensuring that appropriate quarry taxes are collected for the province. Northernforum.net