'Illegal' sand, gravel quarrying continues
Ric V. Obedencio (The Freeman) - April 21, 2018 - 12:00am

GARCIA-HERNANDEZ, BOHOL, Philippines –The allegedly 'illegal' sand and gravel quarrying at Manaba River of the limestone-rich town of Garcia-Hernandez in Bohol, about 52 kilometers east of Tagbilaran City, has continued to this day and generated controversy again in what may be described as sand and quarrel.

Sand and gravel are the main materials used for infrastructure - roads, dams, buildings, bridges, reclamation, etc. - following the earthquake in 2013, and contractors and their suppliers have been making a killing of financial returns.

The Freeman, in its recent visit to the area, found that the manual extraction of sand and gravel has been on a brisk pace, but one of  the gatherers said he does not know if what they are doing is legal or not.

Alarmed by this scenario, the Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO) of the provincial government has acted after learning that the sand and gravel extraction is still going on without let up, according to BEMO officer-in-charge Tata Ganub in a text message.

Ganub texted that a certain Engr Galicinao was in Garcia-Hernandez last April 5, with PO1 Cadiz and Mun Admin Salise, and confirmed that there are many piled sacks of sand and gravel there. She said that a report on the matter and a draft stoppage order were sent to the mayor and the barangay chairmen of Manaba, Sacaon, and Tabuan. "I will still verify if the stoppage order was already delivered," she told The Freeman.

"It has been going on a long time ago," Ganub said in the vernacular, adding that a cooperative has been organized there, but was stalled because nobody took charge as the point person in complying with the requirements.

BEMO has been coordinating with the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the DENR to assist the sand gatherers to make their activities legal. But former BEMO chief  Loloy Lafuente inquired in his Facebook post: "Unsa diay initiatives sa lgus municipal ug brgy ... when they are mandated to safeguard their respective local environment."

Lafuente said that during his time in enforcing rules on minerals extraction, he always attend the barangay general assembly or sessions, for strict campaign and apprehensions of haulers.

However, Lafuente lamented that there are many sand-and-gravel businesspersons who belongs to the local government. "Kinsa may mamadlong nga ang mga mamadlongay nagpabadlong man sad," he added.

QUARRYING CONTINUES
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