The local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assured on Monday there is no continued illegal quarrying operation in Sitio Dipulao, Barangay 6 since the department issued an order stopping quarrying activities there last month.

Pete Velasco, Development Management Officer at the CENRO Coron office, told Palawan News the reported continuing quarrying activity near the area is a valid operation by a contractor and is not covered by their notice of violation.

Velasco was referring to reports and pictures received by Palawan News from local residents claiming that illegal quarrying activities that had already destroyed a sizeable part of the mountain has been ongoing and were being done mainly at night.

A dump truck hauls quarried soil. (Contributed photo)

“Iyong kina-quarry-han nila ngayon ay may permit. Sa unahan ng Dipulao papuntang Lamud. Ang permit ay sa pangalan ni Teotangco,” Velasco told Palawan News July 17.

CENRO personnel Arnold Blaza in Coron also maintained that the quarrying activities reported by concerned locals are legal.

“Hindi naman nila natatamaan ang pinatayo namin na sign doon. At saka may ECC (environmental compliance certificate) ‘yon,” Blaza said.

The Dipulao quarry site was issued an NOV on June 23 for the absence of needed permits, while the Coron CENRO also requested the contractor to cease quarrying until permits were secured. Velasco named two contractors, BCT and another owned by a certain Mercado, as the ones behind the quarrying.

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) also confirmed that the contractors failed to apply for permits before conducting the quarry but have been processing the needed documents.

It remains unclear who authorized the project. The soil being taken from the quarry site is reportedly being used for the reclamation project of the Palawan provincial government.