SOUTHERN Leyte Vice Governor Shefferd Tan has denied owning Shemberg Marketing Corporation (SMC), the firm that was accused of over extraction and other violations in Subang Daku River that prompted to an issuance of suspension.
In a news briefing in Maasin City last week, Governor Roger Mercardo claimed that the biggest permit holder company, which is allowed to quarry in 19 hectares of Subang Daku, is a dummy firm of Tan.
However on Monday, Tan said he doesn’t own the firm but admitted that it has been renting their family’s heavy equipment for hauling sand and gravel.
He also denied involvement in any quarrying operation in Sogod.
“It’s the governor’s family who has illegally operating in Subang Daku. They wanted to get a permit but they couldn’t because all areas are already owned by some operators. They just get aggregates everywhere,” he said.
The vice governor accused Joselito Dolauta, who has an operating area in Barangay Kanangkaan, as a dummy permit holder of the governor.
Sand and gravel extraction has been operating in the area since July 1993 when former Governor Oscar Tan issued a permit to Cebu-based SMC.
Meanwhile, records from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) showed that other than Shemberg, the area along Subang Daku River has five active quarrying operators consisting of Selena Salas (12 hectares), Ester Servacio (4 hectares), Rodolfo Servacio (8 hectares) and Joselito Dolauta (3 hectares).
The MGB said the Provincial Government of Southern Leyte has no authority to suspend quarrying operations along Subang Daku.
Romulo Babatugon, chief of the MGB regional mine management division, said the provincial government can only recommend for suspension of sand and gravel extraction but it has to be approved by the MGB regional office.
He also said based on the quarterly reports by the multipartite team, the existing permit holders have no violations.
The monitoring team is composed of MGB, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), quarry operator, National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), local government unit (LGU) and the community. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)