The Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) has ordered the closure of a quarry site in Barangay Dumangueña, Narra following a complaint filed by a group of irrigators.
In a resolution issued on November 2, the PMRB said that extraction or removal of materials is not allowed within one kilometer distance from the boundaries of public water supply reservoirs or from archaeological and historical sites or of any public or private works unless without prior clearance of the agency concerned.
The resolution noted that the quarry is being operated by a certain Joe Ruel Sefil, with Commercial Sand and Gravel (CSAG) permit on September 16 to 17, 2019.
The complaint against the quarry operation was raised by the Federation of Irrigators Association Inc. (FIAI).
“Upon unanimous decision, [the] board approves [the] resolution ordering the closure of the quarry site of permit holder Mr. Joe Ruel Sefil located at Barangay Dumangueña, Narra, Palawan pending further investigation and without prejudice to the revocation of CPA PLW 349 in the name of the permitee,” PMRB said.
The complainants claimed that the quarry operation has directly affected some 5,000 hectare of irrigated lands in the barangays of Dumangueña, Bagong Sikat, Sandoval, Tinagong Dagat, Estrella Village, Malatgao, Taritien, and Elvita, including the barangays of Jose Rizal, Apoaporawan, Tigman, Apoc-apoc, and Plaridel in Aborlan.
On July 7, the irrigator’s association passed a resolution urging the PMRB to conduct an evaluation and validation of the quarry operations in the upstream portion of the diversion dam of Malatgao River Irrigation System (MRIS).
The copy of the resolution was given to DENR-PENRO, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Office of the Provincial Governor and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Palawan Irrigation Management Office also received the same letter.
“The quarry operations upstream of the Malatgao Dam destructs the normal flow of Malatgao river affecting the volume of irrigation water flow to diversion dam and supply to the irrigation canals which consequently the reason for water shortage and damages to the standing palay crops,” the resolution stated.
The irrigators also sought assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-PENRO) and the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC).
“The ELAC urged these government agencies to respond on the complaint of irrigators,” executive officer Atty. Grizelda Mayo- Anda told Palawan News in a phone interview.
Palawan News has contacted the construction firms involved to get their side but has yet to receive a reply.