BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Vice-Governor Jeffrey Ferrer said yesterday that he will propose a two-year suspension of quarry operations in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental if these were found to be the major cause of flooding in the lowlands.
Ferrer and Board Member Andrew Montelibano are set to inspect quarry operations in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental that was hit by flashfloods in recent weeks, and to review their permits.
There are about 200 mountain and river quarry operations in the 3rd district alone, Montelibano said.
He said there will be aerial and ground inspections of quarry operations.
“There are reports of illegal quarries. They will be the target of our inspection,” Montelibano, who represents the 3rd district in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, said.
He said he received a report that a bridge in Manapla was damaged due to erosion because of a quarry operation in the area.
Those with permits will be made to strictly comply with government regulations, he added.
The survey is also expected to determine if catch basins in the mountainous areas of Patag in Silay City had been damaged, causing them to overflow and inundate the lowlands.
Montelibano said he learned from the Provincial Environment Management Office of more than 1,000 pending applications for quarry permits.
“I think there is a need to balance the development of our infrastructure and the protection of our river system,” he said.
What will happen is that “We build something but we destroy something, too,” Montelibano also said.
Two amphibious excavators have been dispatched by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the provincial government of Negros Occidental, to declog waterways in Victorias that was badly hit by the recent flashfloods.
Mayor Marvin Malacon also announced earlier that the long overdue declogging and desiltation project at the Imbang, Madalag, and Malogo rivers of EB Magalona may finally push through this month.
Malacon said the First Terradev Corporation, the private company tasked to do the project, informed him that personnel from Luzon have been cleared to go to Negros Occidental to start the project.
“We already have complete documents so the dredging project can start. It will begin at the mouths of the major rivers in EB Magalona,” he added. Malacon said he noted heavy siltation in the waterways of EB Magalona, with riverbeds and creeks deeper than their openings towards the sea, causing the overflow of water, especially during strong rains and high tides.*