ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/22 September) – Mayor Celso Lobregat has issued an order regulating the extraction and hauling of sand and gravel aggregates in a bid to curb the proliferation of illegal quarrying activities in this city.
Lobregat issued executive order CL-471-2012 (EO 471-2012) dated September 3 that specifically prohibits quarrying of sand, gravel and other quarry resources by holders of quarry permits within their concession areas from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Mondays to Sundays.
Lobregat’s order also prohibits, within the same period, the hauling or transporting of sand, gravel and other quarry resources.
“For the purpose of strict and indiscriminate implementation, this order is enforceable to all existing holders of quarry permit and contractors implementing government projects,” Lobregat stated in his order.
He said that vehicles caught violating the regulation shall be impounded and quarry permittees and haulers, as well as persons acting on their behalf, including owners of the vehicles used in the prohibitive act, upon investigation and recommendation from the City Legal Office, shall be meted administrative fines.
They also face permit revocation based on amended Ordinance 2002-094, also known as the sand and gravel law, without prejudice, however to the filing of related cases–whether criminal, civil and administrative under existing laws, rules and regulations, he added.
The mayor’s order, likewise, provides that sand and gravel aggregates loaded on motor vehicles caught during the prohibited hours shall be presumed to originate from illegal or undocumented source and shall be confiscated and later disposed upon the order of the court or the mayor.
E.O. 471-2012 shall become part of the terms and conditions for the issuance of all types of quarry permit.
Lobregat issued the order following a consultative meeting that he had with quarry permit holders, barangay officials and other concerned city government officials as well as representatives from the construction industry last September 3.
The meeting tackled issues pertaining to illegal quarrying activities of non-holders of quarry permit and the need to impose stricter measures to enforce the sand and gravel law particularly during night time.
The sand and gravel law or City Ordinance 2002-094 (as amended) prescribes rules and procedures for the issuance of permits for the extraction of sand, gravel and other similar resources within the territorial jurisdiction of the city.
The ordinance authorizes the mayor to impose other terms and conditions to all types of quarry permits issued pursuant to the same ordinance.
It also provides that violation of the terms and conditions of the permit shall constitute a lawful cause for the suspension or revocation of the permit.
Lobregat has task the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) to spearhead the implementation the order.
Likewise, he ordered the barangay officials where there are quarry concessions and the local police to assist the OCENR in the implementation of the order. (MindaNews)