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Hilongos LGU airs protests over SAG quarrying operations

By DANTE OPERIO
August 14, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  A group of barangay residents and farmers from Hilongos, Leyte led by its Municipal Mayor, Hon. Jose Emery Fulache Roble, united themselves in meeting top executives of the DENR in the region to oppose the Sand and Gravel Industrial Permit Application (SAG-IPA) of Chandran Rama and the present SAG quarrying operations along Salog River in that municipality.

RD de dios said the protest of the LGU over the SAG-IP application of Chandran Rama is pre-mature.

In the first place, the application will not be approved without the favorable endorsements from the Barangay Council/s and the Sangguniang Bayan of Hilongos, Director De Dios said.

On the SAG quarrying operations along Salog River, RD de Dios said that under the law, he can summarily suspend a mining operation if public interest is at stake.

“Our Office will do what it can with its available resources. Other stakeholders have to pitch in and MGB will be right there to make sure that all legitimate issues and concerns of the people are considered and addressed,” Director De Dios said.

“What the Barangay and LGU can do right now is to properly document the SAG quarrying operations in their respective areas as they are permanent members of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT).”

“They should also police all illegal SAG extraction in these areas, which not only deprive the government from taxes, but likewise, become the source of corruption by local officials.”

“Our technical personnel have even personally observed these illegal extractions and hauling of SAG materials along Tagbaoto & Salog River in Hilongos, and our task force has apprehended trucks loaded with SAG materials owned by the LGU of Hilongos in the past,” Director De Dios added.

On the other hand, Mayor Roble said that he will lobby for the cancellation of all SAG quarrying permits in Hilongos as the monthly tax derived from their operation is not sufficient compared to the environmental damage it has caused.

Hilongos, Leyte is one of the suppliers of sand and gravel materials in Bohol and Cebu Islands.  (MGB8 / PIA 8)