PASTRANA NEWS – Doctor and Pastrana mayor Alvin Opiniano has ordered the immediate shut down of three sand and gravel quarrying sites in this municipality. The mayor also suspended the effectivity of local business permits covering the sites.
Pastrana Municipal Administrator Merle Clamor told the Visayan Business Post that the temporary closure was directed by the local chief executive pending an environmental impact assessment study by the municipality’s Environmental Assessment Committee.
‘The environmental impact study is based on recent regulations covering mining and quarrying by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’, said administrator Clamor.
Municipal Environmental Assessment Committee chairman and Pastrana Vice Mayor Edgar Empillo who served the closure orders on the quarrying sites being operated by Yakal Construction, Red Dragon, and KINJAP Rock Corporation said that the closure will give the MEAC appropriate freedom in conducting a technical study on the sites.
The MEAC team was accompanied by elements of the Philippine National Police, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council members, Sangguniang Bayan, the punong barangay of the areas concerned, and humanitarian aid organization ONEVisayas.
‘A series of public hearing have been scheduled for the three companies to appear together with local residents and officials who have concerns in relation to environmental risks connected with the unabated quarrying of sand and gravel along the Binahaan River’, said vice mayor Edgar Empillo.
‘We need to really know how the quarrying operations should be regulated because it now poses a great risk to communities in Pastrana’, Adam Triste of the humanitarian aid organization ONEVisayas told the Visayan Business Post news team adding that the Binahaan River is a ‘catastrophe waiting to happen’.
Second District Leyte Congressman Henry Ong has earlier called for government officials especially the local government of Pastrana to look into reports that several unscrupulous companies have been digging in parts of the Binahaan River outside their authorized quarrying area based on Environmental Management Bureau records.
Police authorities in Pastrana are now on orders not to allow delivery trucks to carry out sand and gravel extracted from the quarrying sites.