Rizal gov't suspends permits of quarrying firms, urges DENR to halt mining agreements

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2020 08:43 PM

Rizal residents carry their goods and belongings along a trail covered with huge rocks after Typhoon Ulysses damaged the area near Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal, on November 21, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA - The provincial government of Rizal has ordered the suspension of all "quarrying and mining operations and related activities" in the province, according to a document presented in the Senate on Thursday.

Under Rizal Province's Memorandum Order No. 2020-01, all quarrying activities and related operations in the province are "ordered stopped and shall remain to be such unless and until authorized to resume operations for just cause or reason."

In the same document, Rizal Governor Rebecca Ynares urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to order the "immediate stoppage of all mining tenement agreements that it granted in the province."

Quarrying and mining firms, as well as "crushing plant operations" that received permits from the DENR cover nearly 5,000 hectares in Rizal, the memorandum read.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the permits of some quarrying firms have been suspended as of December 2.

Senate Committee on Environment chair Cynthia Villar directed Cimatu to submit to the chamber a list of the quarrying and mining firms that have been suspended, as well as the history of each company to see if some firms have committed repeated violations of some environmental laws.

The Rizal Provincial Government earlier blamed quarrying and mining activities in the province for the flash floods and landslides in some towns and villages, especially during the typhoon season.

Rizal was among the most devastated provinces in the country after a series of typhoons battered Luzon last month.

A portion of Rizal's forests and terrain form part of the Marikina Watershed, known to be Metro Manila's "first line of defense" when it comes to floods triggered by typhoons.

An environmentalist earlier described the Marikina Watershed's current condition as similar to having "stage 4 cancer."

In 2018, the DENR said it would suspend quarrying in Rizal towns after habagat floods swamped several communities in the province and nearby cities. However, several mining firms continue to operate in the area two years on.

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