Toledo City pushes for quarrying ban in major Cebu river
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña raised his opposition to the continued extraction of sand and gravel from the Sapangdaku River, urging the provincial government to also stop the issuance of permits.
Toledo City, located on the west coast of Cebu Island, is pushing for a total ban on extraction from the city’s main river. Officials and residents fear that the activities will cause flooding in the low-lying areas.
“I have always asked for a total ban even before I became mayor. I was always saying that if I'd become mayor I would have a total ban,” Osmeña said before a Cebu provincial board session on Monday, March 9.
Osmeña and members of his city council were invited by the provincial board to comment on a draft board ordinance banning the use of heavy equipment in the extraction of minerals from the river.
“Thousands of trucks are still running around every day,” said Osmeña, who is also a former senator.
Osmeña said that to implement the total ban on extraction, the provincial government should also stop issuing Delivery Receipts (DR) that will constitute as a permit for the trucks that carry extracted sand and gravel.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Chad Estella, who was also at the provincial board session, admitted that they continue to issue DRs to private lot owners who extract sand near the river, but not in the river itself. Osmeña said that it is only when the PENRO and the capitol stop issuing DRs will the total ban be observed.
Provincial board members Alex Binghay and Grecilda Sanchez, who both represent the 3rd district, are drafting an ordinance banning the extraction of sand and gravel in Sapangdaku. The board members promised to include the suggestions raised by Osmeña in the draft ordinance.
Following an ordinance approved by the Toledo city council on November 4, 2013, banning all quarrying activities in the Sapangdaku River, city hall has doubled the number of Civil Security Units (CSU) personnel to 63 to help implement the law.
This, however, this wasn't very effective since those who are apprehended by city authorities often carry with them DRs issued by the provincial government.
The mayor expressed hopes that a provincial ordinance will be passed soon to fully implement a quarrying ban in Toledo. – Rappler.com