Thursday, May 23, 2019

Apo to implement hazard plan

CEBU. Officials of Naga City Government and Apo Cement Corp. inaugurate the P20-million Sindulan Safety Wall, which is part of what is required of the cement firm before the suspension of their quarry permit is lifted. (SunStar photo/Alex Badayos)

THE Apo Land and Quarry Corp. (ALQC) is set to initiate its hazard reduction plan next month, which includes building a 180-meter wall around the landslide affected area in Barangay Tina-an, City of Naga.

While officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 advised ALQC’s partner, Apo Cement Corp. (ACC), to find other measures that would allow their workers to continue working even though their operations are still suspended.

Officials of ALQC and ACC said following the approval of the DENR of their hazard reduction plan, they can finally start clearing the debris in the landslide area and put up measures to ensure that a similar incident won’t happen again.

Earlier this month, the DENR approved the first three out of five components of the P140-million hazard reduction program that ALQC is expected to implement.

Engr. Gerry Rota, ACC plant director, said the firm will spend at least P50 million to implement the first three measures of the hazard reduction plan within 170 days.

The first measure they will implement is the construction of a safety wall in Sitio Sindulan, which will cost at least P20 million.

The construction of the safety wall will include the removal of debris left after the landslide.

After the safety wall is built, the firm will initiate the clean-up of the Pangdan River, which was clogged up with debris after the landslide. The cleanup will cost the company P21.4 million.

After the river clean-up, ALQC will then start building drainage facilities worth P4.7 million from Sitio Tagaytay all the way to the ACC plant to prevent mud flow.

Rota clarified that while they have been granted approval to start the hazard reduction program, the debris collected from the site, mostly composed of limestone, will not be used for manufacturing, but will be dumped in a separate area in the ACC plant.

The suspension order on ALQC’s quarrying operations issued by DENR is still in effect, Rota said.

In a separate press conference yesterday, DENR 7 Director Gilbert Gonzales said that suspension of ALQC’s operations will stay until they are able to implement its hazard reduction plan.

Gonzales said implementing the hazard reduction program at Ground Zero is not easy due to the presence of debris and loose earth that might give in due to weather disturbances.

Gonzales said the hazard reduction program aims to remove all risks and normalize the area again.

As to ACC’s workers who were temporarily laid off because of the suspension of quarrying operations, Gonzales advised the firm to provide “alternative solutions” that will allow them to continue employment.

Meanwhile, ACC and ALQC held a “day of community prayer,” a simple yet solemn ceremony to mark the start of the hazard reduction program at Sitio Sindulan. (JKV and HBL OF SuperBalita Cebu)


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