Quarrying suspension in Albay will affect gov’t infra projects – Escudero

Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” said Friday that the suspension of the quarrying operations in Albay towns would slow down the government’s Build, Build, Build projects.

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu suspended quarrying operations around Mayon Volcano. DENR is currently investigating quarrying’s role in the destructive flood when Super Typhoon Rolly hit Albay.

Cimatu earlier claimed that some operators left materials in the middle of the river, which hit the communities when Rolly came.

“It does not only cover the [Bicol] region’s infrastructure projects. It affects even Calabarzon region, Cebu, Marinduque, Visayas provinces, because they actually get their quarrying materials from Albay,” Escudero, a former senator, said in an ANC interview.

“So it is not only the projects in Bicol which will be affected if it is faulted completely. It will affect the Build, Build, Build program of the government in Calabarzon, Bicol region, perhaps in Region 8 and parts of Region 6,” he added.

Escudero added that local government units should take advantage of DENR’s administrative order issued this year. The order allows private contractors to shoulder the cost of dredging operations in river dredging zones.

Quarrying suspension in Albay will affect gov’t infra projects – Escudero

The administrative order also allows local government units to conduct river restoration by submitting an intent letter to the DENR secretary.

“All you need is a program of work for DPWH so as to remove the debris, boulder, or sand in the rivers. It is a good order,” Escudero said.

“That is a good opportunity for the LGUs to defend their low-lying and flood-prone areas,” he added.

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, on Tuesday, doubted that quarrying operations in  are to blame for the severe flooding that wiped houses when Super Typhoon Rolly hit the area over the weekend.

“I doubt it because of no operator… it’s always raining, so no operator will stockpile in the middle of the river,” he told ANC.

“It’s a rainy season, eh, sino maglalagay doon? Mawawala din ‘yan, sayang ang efforts nila, mawawala din ‘yan,” he added.