No quarrying inside Mayon danger zone
By Celso Amo LEGAZPI CITY ---The Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) of Albay has debunked claims that quarrying still goes on despite the order barring any human activity inside the 6km permanent danger zone up to the 8km extended danger zone around restive Mayon Volcano. “We have suspended all quarrying operations at those high risk areas,” assured Tess Atos, ENRO officer-in-charge, during an interview before the weekend. In fact, as of January 2018, thirty-six licensed quarrying operators from a total of 83 have suspended their quarrying operations,” Atos said. “Of course, not all quarrying operators had been affected by the present Mayon eruption,” she said adding that of those unaffected, 9 licensed quarrying operators are from the first district, another 13 from the second district, and 14 from the third district of Albay. Quarrying operators from the first district are found in the towns of Sto. Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, and Guinobatan, and the cities of Tabaco, Legazpi, and Ligao. “Some of the affected quarrying operators came to our office to ask for a certificate to show to their contractors why deliveries of aggregates were delayed,” Atos said. Atos, however, said that personnel inside the plants of operators of crushing machines may be seen inside the plants where they merely transfer left-over aggregates. She also admitted that small-scale or ‘pala-pala’ style sand and gravel extractions may be found in river channels outside the danger zones. “But definitely there is no quarrying inside the 6km to 8km high risk zones,” she added. Atos warned that quarrying operators’ licenses will be revoked once they are found quarrying inside the restricted zones. Revenues from quarrying operations are divided among the barangay (40 percent), the city or municipality (30 percent), and the province (30 percent). Atos aid that as of last reporting period, barangays in Albay accumulated a total of P53M in revenues, the towns and cities had collected P32M million, while the the province had P40M. In January, this year, alone, a total of P17M were raised from quarrying, P7M of which went to the barangays, while the towns/cities and the province got P5M each. She revealed due to the high quality of the aggregates from the slopes of Mayon Volcano, some of these construction materials were shipped to Cebu and some other areas before the explosions by Mt. Mayon.