E. Visayas intensifies campaign vs illegal quarrying
TACLOBAN CITY – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has intensified its campaign against unlawful quarrying activities in the region as it deputized 688 mining enforcement officers since last year.
MGB Eastern Visayas regional director Glenn Marcelo Noble said on Thursday that the deputized personnel consist of task force enforcers, policemen, village officials, and selected local government employees.
“With our limited number, we are capacitating more personnel from the local government and partner agencies to make sure that operators extract the allowed volume of sand and gravel within the permitted area,” Noble said in an interview.
The deputized mining enforcement officers are from the towns of Javier, Barugo, Jaro, Babatngon, MacArthur, Tunga, Albuera, Alangalang, Ormoc City, and Baybay City in Leyte; Sogod, Southern Leyte; Kawayan, Biliran; and Catbalogan City government.
These towns and cities are known for quarrying activities.
The bureau has also deputized officers from Southern Leyte and Northern Samar provincial governments, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional enforcement division, and the Environmental Management Bureau regional office.
The 2022 records also said the region’s 26 operators, with permits from MGB, extracted 304,344 cubic meters of sand and gravel with a total value of PHP104.03 million.
An industrial sand and gravel permit covering an area of more than five hectares would be issued by the bureau.
"There's been a high demand for quarry materials in recent years due to massive construction activities both by the government and the private sector. We have been helping the local government regulate the extraction of sand and gravel by deputizing enforcement officers,” Noble added.
Section 138 of the Local Government Code authorizes provinces to levy taxes on sand, gravel and other quarrying activities.
As deputized officers, they are authorized to investigate violations of mining laws, rules and regulations, as well as any violations of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
He said more deputized enforcers would be deployed in the coming months, who would also be authorized to apprehend and seize tools, equipment and conveyances used in illegal mining, including all mineral products illegally extracted, hauled and possessed by the offender, and to file criminal complaints. (PNA)