Bichara stops quarry in 5 Legazpi villages

ALBAY Gov. Al Francis Bichara has approved on Saturday, Nov. 7, the request of the Legazpi City government to suspend quarry operations in the five villages located in the southern flank of Mayon Volcano.

Bichara said he issued Executive Order No. 35, which temporarily suspended quarry operations in Barangays Mabinit, Bogna, Matanag, Buyuan and Padang, all located in Legazpi City.

He said the suspension was in response to Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal’s letter seeking the provincial government action to temporary stop quarrying operations in the five villages pending the result of the investigation being conducted by a task force created by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office.

Rosal in his letter to Bichara requested the latter to suspend quarrying in the five villages as barangay residents expressed fear for the lives and worry about damage to their properties as they are at risk from the hazards of quarrying around the volcano.

Earlier, Bichara has ordered the suspension of quarrying in the town of Guinobatan after several lives were lost and hundreds of houses in three villages were buried by lahar and boulders that cascaded down from the volcano’s slope at the height of Typhoon “Rolly.”

Residents of the three villages blamed quarrying operations as the cause.

The 9-member DENR Task Force has started its assessment to determine the extent and impact of quarrying on river systems on the slopes of Mt. Mayon.Guillermo Molina, Bicol regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), said the Task Force was given 15-days to complete its assessments including risk mapping and submit its recommendation to DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu.

DENR-Bicol has recommended the suspension of quarry operations around Mayon Volcano in the aftermath of Typhoon “Rolly.” Thereafter, Bichara subsequently issued an executive order suspending quarrying in Guinobatan and Legazpi City.

The Albay governor believed that stoppping quarrying is not good as it would affect the national government’s Build Build Build program and the rehabilitation projects to rebuild the various infrastructure destroyed by the typhoon.

He said Albay is the major supplier of aggregates in the entire Bicol region including the Visayas region.