Gigaquit folk say ‘no’ to limestone quarry

GIGAQUIT, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/24 February) — Hundreds of residents have signed a petition opposing the planned operations of a limestone quarry in Barangay San Isidro for fear it would cause environmental damage.

“We believe that operations of limestone quarry will lead to the destruction of our mountain and this will cause damage to our rice fields wrought by soil erosion. It will also destroy the source of our potable water including the water source of our irrigation,” the petition said.

Rodulfo Nasi, one of the petitioners, said the barangay council of San Isidro approved a resolution on Nov. 24, 2015 allowing Ibuna Enterprises to open a quarry in the area

Nasi, a retired provincial director of Department of Interior and Local Government of Surigao del Norte said several residents of San Isidro and other barangays have signed the petition.

San Isidro barangay councilor Alberto L. Rojo admitted the council unanimously approved the resolution without the benefit of a barangay assembly.

He said a representative from Ibuna Enterprises named Wilfredo Moralina approached them to ask for approval [of their operations].

He said some of them felt remorse for what they did after many townspeople questioned the resolution.

MindaNews tried to contact Moralina as well as San Isidro barangay chair Maria Luz Eupeña but they did not respond to queries.

Jose Beniga, a resident of San Isidro called the resolution fake, saying there was no prior consent from the people

Janneth A. Pontillo, assistant designate officer of the Provincial Environmental Management Office said the firm is now seeking an environmental compliance certificate from the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources..

“They don’t have permit to operate, they have a long way to go in order to operate,” Pontillo said.

Engr. Alilo Ensomo Jr., regional director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Caraga said he received the town folk’s petition.

He said he forwarded it to the PEMO and Provincial Mining Regulatory Board since they are the ones that will issue a permit.

Gigaquit Mayor Carlos Arthuro Egay Sr., said the town has no jurisdiction to issue a quarry permit.

“As of the now there is no endorsement coming from the municipal council for the limestone quarry permit,” Egay said in a text message Wednesday. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)