MANILA (UPDATE) - Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu on Monday said he has ordered the suspension of quarry operations around the Mayon Volcano in Albay province following the onslaught of typhoon Rolly.
Cimatu made the announcement after President Rodrigo Duterte said he will order an investigation on quarry operations after his visit to Guinobatan town.
"I directed the suspension of all these 11 or 12 operators, including suspending all quarry operations around the volcano habang mayroon pa itong mga sumusunod na mga typhoons para naman ma-prevent na itong mga maaaring mangyari ulit," Cimatu said during the Cabinet's meeting with Duterte.
(I directed the suspension of all these 11 or 12 operators, including suspending all quarry operations around the volcano during the typhoon season so as to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.)
Cimatu also said that based on their initial investigation in Albay, some of the quarry operators left their stockpiles in the middle of the rivers. These were then washed away when floodwaters flowed down from Mayon Volcano.
"So nung bumaba 'yung tubig, malakas, dala dala 'yung lahar, pati yung mga stockpiles nila doon, boulders, kasama na," he said.
(When the water flowed, together with lahar, the boulders were also washed away.)
Cimatu said he will also look into the permits of the quarry operators. It is the provincial government that issued these permits.
He likewise said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will look into the quarrying procedure in the area.
"At the same time, iimbestigahan natin pati 'yung procedure nila ng pag-quarry, kasi dapat hindi nila nilalagyan 'yung stockpiles sa river mismo," Cimatu said.
(We will investigate the procedure of quarrying because they should not put their stockpiles in the river.)
A local councilor is behind quarrying operations in Guinobatan town, Albay, where at least 3 were killed following Typhoon Rolly's onslaught, according to resident Roel Duque Tuesday.
Duque said he and his neighbors have previously appealed to Mayor Ann Yap Ongjoco to halt quarrying operations in the area.
"Sana matigil na itong quarrying na ito gawang nakasira na naming palayan," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We hope quarrying operations here stop as it has damaged our rice fields.)
Duterte on Monday visited Guinobatan town, which is among the areas pummeled by typhoon Rolly. The visit came after criticism on his absence from public view during the disaster that destroyed thousands of homes and killed at least 16 people.
Duterte's aerial survey also passed over Catanduanes, where Rolly first made landfall and has cut off power and telco lines, said Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go who joined the trip.