NAGA CITY --- The office of the Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs (PABA) is willing to work for the expeditious release of quarry permits to private construction firms from the local government units.
The PABA’s assistance was offered to resolve the delays in the undertaking or completion of infrastructure projects because of the limited supply of quarry materials or their total unavailability due to the alleged refusal by Task Force Sagip Kalikasan to allow the construction firms to conduct quarry operations.
The situation, the Department of Public Works and Highways in Bicol said, gravely affects the implementation of various infrastructure projects listed under the 2017 and 2018 “Build-Build-Build” program of President Duterte.
It was found out during the consultation called by former judge now Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla that the shortage or unavailability of materials was happening due to non-issuance of quarry permits by the LGUs to private contractors who are adversarial to them or happened to be with rival political groups.
A case in point is the situation being encountered by the contractors with the Task Force Sagip Kalikasan personnel belonging to the provincial government of Camarines Sur. The task force head said that his group is facing more or less 71 cases which were filed by individuals who were apprehended for illegal quarrying.
In Camarines Norte, a similar situation was encountered by a private contractor who resorted to extract quarry materials from a river in Capalonga town after the Task Force Sagip Kalikasan prohibited him to gather aggregates from a quarrying area. The problem rose after Governor Edgardo Tallado allegedly declined to issue permit to the contractor who is identified with the municipal mayor, one of the governor’s political nemesis.
The meeting was participated in by engineers and legal officer of DPWH in the Bicol Region, private contractors, DENR personnel, PENRO staff, LGUs, and Task Force Kalikasan watchmen from the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Catanduanes.
Among the invited provincial governors in Bicol Region, it was only Acting Governor Shirley Abundo of Catanduanes who attended the meeting.
Trying to resolve the matter, Clavecilla told the private contractors that his office is willing to act as go-between in the transaction for them (contractors) to be able to secure quarry permits.
He advised the construction firm owners in the entire region to closely coordinate with him if ever they wanted to secure authorization from the provincial governments to conduct quarrying in areas designated by the LGUs.