Cebu News

Osmeña orders to impound trucks ‘illegally hauling’ filling materials

Odessa O. Leyson - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has directed the Mining Regulatory Board (MRB) to impound trucks of any developer that illegally haul filling materials from anywhere in the city.

Osmeña decided to make this policy after the reported illegal quarrying in Barangay Binaliw for the proposed establishment of a material recovery facility (MRF) in the area.

He said he has given this instruction to MRB head Councilor Alvin Arcilla Wednesday night.

From the time he had informed Arcilla, one truck was already apprehended.

The impounded truck will be with the city’s custody for six months.

Osmeña came up with this new policy after he observed that violations under the MRB’s rules are just payable with a fine.

He said the operation in Barangay Binaliw is illegal since the ARN Builders – the contractor of the proposed MRF does not have a permit from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and from the mining board for excavating a private property.

“They might or might not (establish a landfill), I don’t know. If they will build a landfill, it is not my job to get all the clearances and everything.  As far as I am concerned, all I want is one major consideration aside from being legal, it has to be the cheapest,” Osmeña added.

Councilor Joel Garganera, who heads the city’s committee on environment, had earlier alleged that someone who has a high position in government was behind the illegal operation.

“According to him, every part of the city should be attended to.  But our priorities is basically garbage, traffic, drugs and financial, investors.  That’s why I delegate it to other councilors, they can fill in all those blanks because I cannot go around Binaliw or Agsungot to find what their problems are, unless there are emergencies and it becomes a priority,” Osmeña said.

Earlier, the EMB and Barangay Binaliw had issued a cease and desist order against ARN Builders last March 27 to stop their operation, since they have yet to comply with the necessary permits and that they did not have the approval of lot owner Milagros Ingles.

In a separate interview, former councilor Nida Cabrera, who is the mayor’s consultant on environmental concerns, said the City’s Environment and Natural Resources Office received an application from the developer on the establishment of an MRF.

She clarified, however, that the city did not yet give its approval, since the application is still under review.

After receiving Ingles’ complaint last week, Cabrera said her team will inspect the site today.

After hearing that the developer had started the operation without securing the necessary permits, she said she will make a recommendation to Osmeña on the stoppage of operation. (FREEMAN)

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