Bukidnon LGU takes over sand, gravel quarry operations

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 29 Jan) – The provincial government of Bukidnon stopped renewing permits of sand and gravel operators effective this month en route to its assumption of sand and gravel extractions as a form of economic enterprise.

The move took away the permit holders from the picture. At present quarry operators and construction contractors sign contracts with permit holders, who are the ones who obtain the permit from the provincial government.

Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. told MindaNews he learned that out from the 88 sand and gravel extraction permit holders, the province’s net revenue is only P1.8 million in 2012. He said this figure is a pittance compared to how much other provinces, like Pampanga, earn from sand and gravel. He said the ballpark figure is at least P100 million.

The permit holders renew their permits every year.

He said the scheme instead enriched some of the permit holders with the contractors as beneficiaries. He said the prevailing market price per cubic meter is P300.

The provincial government collects 30 percent from the P30 per cubic meter collected from the permit holders. About 40 percent of the share goes to the barangay and another 30 percent goes to the city or municipal government.

He said in the present set up, contractors will transact directly with the provincial government through personnel of the Provincial Economic Enterprise Development and Management Office (PEEDMO) and will be required to comply with the environmental compliance certification (ECC).

The province intends to collect P150 per cubic meter from anybody who will ask for permit to purchase by order with specific volume. If they were able to extract, as permitted, they have to obtain another permit if they have other projects, he added.

But he clarified that new permit holders will have to foot expenses for extraction as the P150-per-cubic-meter rate will be net due to the local government units.

Zubiri did not issue an executive order but wrote individual letters to permit holders that the provincial government is no longer renewing the expired permits.

“Please be advised to stop all quarry operations effective immediately,” he wrote to a quarry operator in Sugod, Valencia City.

“Failure to comply with this instruction compels this office to file a case against you before the appropriate court,” he added in a letter dated January 9.

Board member Clive Quino, majority floor leader of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, said the committees on environment and laws will be studying the appropriate legislative move for the governor’s decision.

Zubiri said the revenue to be collected from the new permit holders will no longer be in tax form, but as fees for economic enterprise.

Cecille M. Egnar, the new chief of the Bukidnon Environment and Natural Resources Office, said there are still five quarry operators whose permits are yet to expire.

Zubiri, in an interview during the 2013 election campaign, said that if he wins, the provincial government may consider taking over the extraction of sand and gravel in the province.

He said the province will assume operations from sand and gravel quarry operators to help augment its revenues.