By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – In order to conserve the quarry resources of Ormoc City, Mayor Richard Gomez has issued an executive order banning the export of sand and gravel outside the city, and directing the implementation of rehabilitation plans of existing sand and gravel (SAG) permit areas.
The ban also prohibits shipping, transporting, or carrying any sand and gravel material, regardless of its source, outside the city that produces Class A construction materials, regardless of its purpose.
The order will be implemented starting Monday after all SAG operators are informed.
“The failure to comply with the suspension of exports imposed herein shall be sufficient ground for the cancellation/revocation/termination of sand and gravel permit,” the order read.
Executive Order 17-A also suspends the acceptance of all new applications and renewals for SAG permits. Ormoc is a major source of Class A sand and gravel that exports around 15,000 tons per week.
Last year, Gomez ordered a stop to quarry operations during weekends and holidays to give residents of surrounding communities relief from the noise and dust brought about by quarrying-related activities.
In 2017, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 8, through a resolution, recommended the immediate temporary suspension of certain commercial and industrial sand and gravel extraction operations within Panilahan River for permittees to rehabilitate the area.
It then reported in 2018 that most permit holders failed to rehabilitate the area.
Last year, MGB 8 also issued a geohazard certification that some permitted areas were highly susceptible to landslide and flooding. A joint field inspection likewise revealed that some National Irrigation Administration (NIA) irrigation systems were interrupted when distribution canals were obstructed by bank and silt materials produced by the SAG operators.
It further revealed that the sedimentation rate in SAG operated rivers has negatively affected the ecological and economic value of freshwater ecosystems and marine resources.