CITY OF MALOLOS – Bulacan Governor Daniel R. Fernando together with the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office headed by Atty. Julius Victor Degala and Police Major June Tabigo-on of the Philippine National Police conducted a surprise inspection on the illegal quarrying operation at Sitio Alimasag, Brgy.Camangyanan, Santa Maria, Bulacan this morning.
In an operation headed by BENRO and CIDG last Friday afternoon, five illegal miners who are also residents of Sitio Alimasag have been arrested outrightly and are currently facing three charges including Mineral Theft under Republic Act 7942, Section 103; Section 71-A of the Provincial Ordinance C-005 or the Environmental Code of the Province of Bulacan and the recent Executive Order No. 21 Series of 2022 which mandates temporary suspension of quarrying activities.
Fernando explained that the quarry, which has been operating for several years back, is previously farmland wherein the residents discovered that underneath is volcanic tuff known as escombro or “bulik” which is a high-grade kind of rock mineral commonly used for landscape gardening which costs P150-P600 per block.
Other than that, the roving team also discovered an exhausted quarry area filled with rainwater with a depth of more than ten feet which may cause danger to the residents living within the vicinity. Fernando also said that they will coordinate with the municipal government regarding the said illegal quarrying activity.
“Ito pong inspeksyon ay bunga ng patuloy nating laban kontra illegal quarrying. Ayon po sa ating BENRO, mayroon nang tatlo o apat na iligal na nahukay na sa lugar na ito at ‘yung isang butas ay iniwan na lang nila at may tubig na. So hindi po tama ang nangyayari; sisiguraduhin po natin kung ito ay alam ng local government and I think, kinakailangan mag-usap kami tungkol dito,” Fernando said.
He also pleaded to the Bulakenyos especially those who are in the mining industry, to follow the regulations and operate legally with permits.
“Sa totoo lang po, maraming kababayan natin ang naghihirap at nangangailangan ng tulong. Hindi lang dapat ito pang sariling kapakanan at dapat ilagay sa tamang proseso; hindi sa iligal na bagay. Sapagkat ang kalikasan po ay dapat nating pangalagaan dahil balang araw ay tayo rin ang sisingilin dito. Patuloy po nating lalabanan ang mga illegal quarry dahil ito ay para sa kapakanan din ng ating kapwa Bulakenyo,” the governor added.
Fernando also said during the interview that the illegal miners were using manual tools in extracting the minerals to lessen the noise during operations. As per the governor’s directives, BENRO is still conducting ongoing investigations regarding the illegal activities relating to the aforementioned case.