A resident from Brgy. Inagawan-sub relayed their concerns about lifting the moratorium on granting permits for quarry operations in their area. (PN photo)

Residents of the barangays of Inagawan and Kamuning are inclined to agree to the lifting of an existing moratorium on quarrying operations in their area, provided that only the city government will utilize it for its own projects.

In a public hearing held this week, barangay captain Roderick Cervancia of Inagawan said that their general view against quarrying hasn’t changed, despite their recognition of the city government’s needs.

“Ang stand ko talaga diyan ay pag quarry operation, hindi talaga ako papayag. Ang sa akin lang, base sa paliwanag ng sanggunian, at sa pangangailangan ng city government ng graba o aggregates sa taas, ang sabi ko lang doon ay [sa] city government lang ako papayag.”

The hearing took place in the Brgy. Inagawan gym and was presided over by Councilor Nesario Awat, along with Councilor Elgin Robert Damasco, members of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO), and other representatives from concerned offices of the city government.

Some residents, however, continue to express opposition to the lifting of the moratorium, stating that their farms will be direly affected.

“Kung magkakaroon ng gratuitous [permit], o mag-o-operate yung quarry, una pong maapektuhan kaming magsasaka,” Charlimer Cilindro, a farmer from Inagawan, said.

Awat advised him to submit a petition along with his fellow farmers.

He emphasized that the ruling pertains to the lifting of the moratorium. If everyone agrees on the lifting, they must decide whether to grant a gratuitous permit exclusively to the city government for quarrying or to open the quarries to private companies.

Residents from Kamuning and Inagawan-sub also expressed their concerns about the removal of aggregate buildups in the quarries. They claimed that heavy rains in the past months have caused blocked rivers, leading to disruptions in the activities of the barangays.

Senior Environmental Management Specialist Cardelar Stevie Angel Madriñan clarified that the original ordinance only allowed the rehabilitation of waterways. “Yung concept ng dredging, dapat po ay walang mailalabas doon. (…) Imbes na makatulong tayo na mapadagdag ang daloy ng tubig ay konting ulan lang, lalo na kapag di maganda ang pagka-imbak, talaga pong babalik at babalik doon ang aggregates.”

As for the gravel and aggregates given to the residents, Madriñan added, “Sa bawat sampong truck ng contractor, halimbawa yung private po, meron pong isang truck para sa mga Kapitan para sila na ang bahala sa gagawin doon.”

He also reassured the residents that the City ENRO will monitor the activities and safety procedures should the moratorium be lifted.

The moratorium was passed through an ordinance penned by the City Council in 2010, which stopped the operations of tractors from sifting aggregates and gravel in the rivers found in these barangays.