City Council probes Napsan quarrying

The Puerto Princesa City Council will investigate the alleged quarrying this week in Barangay Napsan.

Councilor Jimmy Carbonell said they will go to the site on Wednesday, September 12, to see for themselves the quarrying activities of Ivy Michelle Trading and Construction.

Carbonell said they will be joined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its line offices, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), City Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENRO), City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), and representative from the local Tagbanua indigenous peoples (IP).

He said he is also requesting for the presence of representatives of the media in the conduct of the inquiry.

“Mag-iinspection tayo sa Miyerkules para once and for all ay ma-resolve na ito. Kasi tuloy-tuloy na ang destruction dito. Kung ang ginagawa dyan ay part ng rehab o slope protection ay ok lang sana. Pero other extra activities tulad ng pagpapalabas ng earth materials at binibenta ay hindi na yan kasama sa rehab,” he said.

Carbonell pointed out that he is not against the slope protection/stabilization activities but based on their initial visit to the site, it appears to them that ongoing quarrying activities are for commercial purposes.

“I stand on my own statement. Ok ako dun sa slope protection. Tignan nating maigi. Kailangan din nating proteksyonan ang environment. Kasi kino-commercialize na ang extracted earth materials,” he said.

Atty. Carlo Gomez, City ENRO chief, said the ongoing activities in the area is similar to that in Barangay Magarwak, where slope protection is being undertaken to protect the lives of the people based on the recommendation of the CDRRMO.

“Ang slope protection na ginagawa ay mula sa taas pababa para matatanggal sa itaas ang mga potential material na babagsak. That is the safest way to do it,” Gomez told members of the city council on Monday during its regular session.

He added that when he received the letter from the City Council last week, he immediately referred the matter to the office of Mayor Lucilo Bayron and recommended for the temporary stoppage of quarrying activities in Napsan.

“Our office is the alter ego of the Mayor and we do not want to bypass him. This is the proper channel and protocol and I hope that you understand us,” Gomez said.

Meanwhile, Felizardo Cayatoc, provincial environment and natural resources officer, said the technical evaluation is necessary before any undertaking is made, specifically on slope protection activity claims by Ivy Michelle.

Cayatoc also said that they are investigating the issue by sending a team to conduct an assessment to immediately act on it accordingly whenever necessary, like the issuance of cease and desist order.

“Sa evaluation na gagawin ay malalaman kung ano ang appropriate. Mahalaga rin kasi na pag-aralan kung ano’ng appropriate soil technology na para doon. Kasi guguho pa rin kung hindi pag-aralan. Hindi basta-basta magawa ng slope stabilization kung walang assessment. Sa ngayon ay dapat ipatigil muna,” he said.

On the other hand, Engr. Arthur Torillo, DPWH information officer, said there should “be a plan for the slope protection or stabilization to determine the exact volume of aggregates and earth materials that will be extracted from the area.”

Councilor Roy Gregorio Ventura said quarrying activities in Magarwak should also be included to ensure that quarrying is not damaging the environment in the area.

“Para matingnan na rin ang nangyayaring quarrying sa Magarwak ay isama na natin dito,” Ventura said.

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