DENR to probe quarry operations in Rizal
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to investigate quarry operations in Rizal that may have led to the massive flooding in parts of the province and Marikina City during the onslaught of Typhoon “Ulysses” (international name: Vamco) last month.
The DENR said in a statement that its regional office in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Quezon) had formed four composite teams to begin the probe upon the urging of the Rizal provincial government. The typhoon submerged several areas and destroyed infrastructure in the province, prompting the provincial government to declare Rizal under a state of calamity.
The groups formed by the DENR would zero in on quarry operations within the Marikina River Basin using aerial mapping drones.
Each team would include a representative from the DENR’s regional office and central and regional representatives from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Environmental Management Bureau and Biodiversity Management Bureau.
This is in line with a memorandum order earlier issued by the MGB wherein it suspended at least 11 quarry and crushing plant operators within the basin that is connected to the Marikina River.
Of the 11 suspended companies, the DENR said five were holders of mineral production sharing agreements—a permit granted by the government that allowed contractors to mine specific areas. These are Asensio-Pinzon Aggregates Corp., San Rafael Development Corp., Montalban Millex Aggregates Corp., Hardrock Aggregates Inc. and Rapid City and Development Corp.
Also suspended were six firms with existing mineral processing permits—Oxford Mines Inc., Viba Aggregates and Marketing, Amiterra Aggregates Corp., Dream Rock Resources Phils. Inc., Superior Aggregates Inc. and ATN Holdings Inc.
These suspensions would hold until the completion of the composite teams’ assessment.
“The DENR has to reevaluate the operation of all mining companies in the area so we can find out whether they contributed to the massive flooding during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses,” Environment Undersecretary Jim Sampulna said.
In relation to this, MGB director Wilfredo Moncano also instructed the contractors to use their respective Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences Funds to conduct research on the sediment influx of their quarry operations to determine its contribution to the siltation of the Marikina River. —Karl R. Ocampo
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