MANILA, Philippines - Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza yesterday ordered a moratorium on all quarrying operations in Sariaya, Quezon in the wake of reports of “imminent danger” posed by such activities, especially after the flooding, riverbank erosion, and destruction of properties experienced by the province due to typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng, and Santi.
Acting on the complaints of residents and non-government organizations (NGOs) in Sariaya, Atienza directed the municipal government, which issues quarry permits, to implement the moratorium and help formulate measures for disaster prevention in the town.
Leo Jasareno, OIC-director of the DENR-Mines Geosciences Bureau (MGB), said that during the moratorium, Atienza will form a team that would conduct an inventory of all quarry operations in Sariaya, prepare an impact assessment report to determine the imminent danger posed by these activities, and enforce compliance with government rules and regulations.
Jasareno said Atienza will make a decision based on the recommendations of the team, which will be composed of the MGB, the Environmental Management Bureau, and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.
While the moratorium is in effect, Jasareno said Atienza has instructed the formation of a DENR-led multi-partite monitoring team to ensure that there will be no violations of his order.
The multi-partite team will involve the executive director of the DENR-Region 4-A, MGB, local government units, the provincial government, NGOs and the Church.
“It is important to implement the moratorium to genuinely identify, on the ground, illegal operations,” Jasareno said.
Last July, in a forum with the provincial government, Jasareno said the MGB presented a geo-hazard report, showing that quarry operations in Sariaya indeed pose imminent danger.