CITY of San Fernando, Pampanga -- Quarry operations in the province resumed Friday after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu banned all quarry operations in the country the day after the Naga City in Cebu tragedy which claims the lives of at least 77 persons.
This was announced Monday by Pampanga Gov. Lilia “Nanay” Pineda as she expressed her deep gratitude to Secretary Cimatu for excluding the province in the total banning of all mining in the country.
Pineda said she immediately visited Cimatu and explained to him that quarrying in Pampanga is different from other provinces. “We are not excavating soil from the mountain, we excavate the downstream of river channels that are choked with lahar in our province,” she said.
She said excavating lahar sand is a form of quarrying in Pampanga which does not pose a threat to people living near the river channels.
“We are also for the environment and won’t do anything to harm it, but these materials (silted lahar sand) should be removed from our rivers or we will be inundated by floodwaters in the next torrential rains,” Pineda said.
Pineda clearly told Cimatu that no mining industry existed in Pampanga and that infrastructure projects of the government, particularly the “The Build, Build, Build Program” of the Duterte administration, will be affected if quarrying stops in the province.
“So, when he realized (Cimatu) that we have a point because the projects of the government will be sacrificed, he lifted the ban,” the governor said.
On September 27, upon the order of Cimatu, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, gave the green light for quarrying operations to resume in most areas, including Pampanga.
Pineda said quarrying is the only source of income of Pampanga since the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.
Records showed that in Pampanga some 5,000 trucks haul gravel and sand daily and in the process desilt river channels in the province.