Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Barangay council slams illegal quarrying in Sorsogon

People behind illegal quarrying activities in the river of San Juan village here will be in hot water if they will not put an end to their illegal activities.

Sorsogon City
Village councilor and Committee on Environment and Natural Resources chair Fernando Gerona IV said  that if illegal quarrying operations will continue, it would indubitably endanger not only San Juan village but the nearby barangays as well.

He said for more than half a decade now, illegal quarrying is happening in Purok 5 of the said village. The illegal activities of consistently digging and stockpiling gravel, sand and boulders in the river were handed over to generations and no one has the courage to complain for fear of reprisal.
The river traverses three other barangays – San Juan, Salog and Bibincahan.

Illegal extraction of gravels and sands in the area have already covered 100 meters wide and around 20-30 meters deep and have caused severe flooding and soil erosion affecting many families dependent on farming. The barangay council feared that it will bring further damage to life and properties of local residents if not stopped.

“Despite our repeated appeal and notices to the people engaged in quarrying in the river bed, still there is a rampant quarrying going on in the area,” said Gerona.

San Juan Barangay Council has formally relayed the present status of San Juan river and the nearby farmlands to the city government. Sorsogon City Mayor Sally A. Lee took action on it by referring the matter to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and a consultation-dialogue is being considered between the city mayor and the concerned residents for possible livelihood intervention from the government.

The council has also passed Resolution No. O8, series of 2014 requesting the provincial government of Sorsogon to assist the barangay LGU of San Juan in putting up a barricade along the boundaries of San Juan river to prevent trucks from coming in.

Likewise, the council requested the neighboring barangays to put barricades along the territorial jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, an orientation to the media on the present status of said river will be conducted on March 4, 2014. Media help is sought by the barangay council to bring to the public the ill-effects of illegal quarrying.

Councilor Gerona said that it is the responsibility of barangay council to safeguard the environment and enforce environmental laws.

According to him, he wanted to set an example that the it is not impossible to stop illegal activities at the barangay level, it only takes strong determination and right leadership from among the local leaders to really put a halt to illegalities in their respective localities.

Extraction of material aggregates like gravel, sand and boulders is prohibited under Republic Act 7942 (Philippine Mining Act of 1995). Likewise, the same prohibition is clearly stipulated under Provincial Ordinance No. 003-92. (PIA)

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