September 16, 2021

Bicol Express News

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12 Illegal Quarrying Operations Closed in San Fernando, Camarines Sur; Quarries of Mayor, Governor’s men axed

Town councilors of San Fernando, Camarines Sur, in session, discuss the problems on illegal quarry operations in the town and it's destructive effect on the local environment. Contributed Photo

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources thru DENR Regional Office 5 slapped last Friday a Cease and Desist Order on illegal quarrying operations in San Fernando, Camarines Sur.

Ordered close for illegal quarrying operations are in Barangay Grijalvo, Pipian, Bocal and Barangay Alianza.

The quarry operators are found without Quarry Permit and Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Office of the Governor (Permit to Quarry), and Environmental Management Bureau or DENR-EMB (ECC).

San Fernando Vice-Mayor Allan Valenzuela and several councilors lauded the DENR’s closure order.

Days before, the San Fernando municipal council passed a resolution urging Mayor Fermin Mabulo to close illegal quarrying in the town, but Mayor Mabulo refused to receive the resolution nor act on it.

Without the Mayor’s knowledge, a copy of the petition was already sent to the DENR which acted immediately by issuing the Cease and Desist Order.

“Governor’s Tropa”

According to Vice Mayor Allan Valenzuela, included in the closure order is the private quarry site of Mayor Fermin Mabulo at Barangay Grijalvo and another quarrying operation at Barangay Pipian under the control of San Fernando LGU.

Also included in the closure order is the quarry site of Rene Magtuto, uncle of Governor Migz Villafuerte.

Ordered closed are various illegal quarry operations allegedly counted as “friends and contractors” of the Provincial Capitol.

Meantime, lawyer Areiz Macaraig, environment advocate based in Naga City, Camarines Sur, lauded the San Fernando officials for their decisive move.

“AN SANGGUNIAN (the town council) with balls. Kudos to VM Allan B. Valenzuela and the brave councilors of San Fernando, Camarines Sur, as well as DENR MGB Region V,” said lawyer Macaraig in his social media post Saturday.

“12 Out of 14 Quarry sites are Illegal”

Initial findings from the DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), and Mines and Geosciences Bureau, were disclosed that the following quarry operations were investigated:

  1. WENMAR CONSTRUCTION
    Zone 1, Grijalvo, San Fernando, CS
    No ECC: ILLEGAL
  2. FERMIN M. MABULO
    Zone 7, Grijalvo, San Fernando, CS
    No ECC: ILLEGAL

Mayor Fermin Mabulo explained he had a permit from the provincial Governor as the earth materials were used for government projects. But as of this probe, Mabulo failed to produce the said quarry documents.

  1. SALVADOR DOLORES/ RENE MAGTUTO
    Bocal, San Fernando, CS
    No ECC: ILLEGAL
    Magtuto is uncle of Governor Villafuerte, and consultant in the Provincial Capitol
  2. RENATO DAYAO
    Zone 3, San Joaquin, San Fernando, CS
    No ECC: ILLEGAL
  3. EPL CONSTRUCTION
    Pipian, San Fernando, CS
    Failure to complete renewal of documents.
    NON- COMPLIANT
  4. ROGELIO PEYRA
    Pipian, San Fernando, CS
    With ECC: LEGAL
  5. PIPIAN BGY SITE
    SAN FERNANDO LGU C/O
    HON. MAYOR FERMIN M. MABULO
    Pipian, San Fernando, CS
    No ECC: ILLEGAL

At the San Fernando town council, its probe was presented in the Committee Report No. 044, s 2021 submitted to the Committee on Environment.

The Committee report confirmed that there are 14 quarry sites in San Fernando, which further investigations revealed only 2 have permits, while 12 are Illegal operations.

The Committee Report identified the barangays where “madrigal”, gravel-sand, and earthfill materials are being quarried.

The barangays are:
*Bocal (2)
*Pipian (4)
*Grijalvo (2)
*Beberon (1)
*Alianza (1)
*San Joaquin (1)
**Pinamasagan (boulders)
**Gñaran (boulders)
**Cotmo (boulders)

With the closure order already imposed, there is still no report if the Governor’s “tropa” and Capitol friends will file their appeals at the DENR.

The quarry sector in Camarines Sur is a mega-million business operation that, according to grapevine reports, that an applicant quarry operator must cough up from 1 million to 5 million pesos just to get approval for quarry permit.

This big amount is separate from the legal fees normally required for applying quarry permit.