Goa mayor calls on Duterte: Investigate rampant quarrying in CamSur
By Zyra D. Ponce with reports
from Bicol Mail News Team
Goa Mayor Marcel Pan in a post on his Facebook page last Monday, Feb. 22, said that he has requested President Rodrigo Duterte, Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu and Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año to conduct a thorough investigation into the rampant quarrying activities in several towns in Camarines Sur province.
Pan, for truth sake’s, also requested President Duterte, Cimatu and Año to include him and Camarines Sur 4th District Rep. Arnie Fuentebella in the probe to clear their names amidst allegations that they are involved in illegal quarrying activities.
The mayor’s move is intended to jump the gun on the plan of Camarines Sur Gov. Migz Villafuerte to file criminal and administrative cases against him for alleged illegal quarrying activities and threats to harm members of the provincial government’s Sagip Kalikasan Task Force (SKTF).
To recall, Villafuerte and/or the SKTF asked the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) during its session on Feb. 10 for an authority to file criminal and administrative cases against Pan for illegal quarrying and threats to harm members of the SKTF. The SP on the same date granted Villafuerte’s request.
The resolution stated that sometime on Jan. 10 this year, SGTF enforcers apprehended a dump truck owned by the local government unit (LGU) of Goa, which was loaded with some five cubic meters of earthfill materials.
Based on surveillance conducted by SKTF, the truck was being used to transport earthfill materials extracted from the Culasi River without any quarry permit.
It further said that during a flag raising ceremony at the Goa municipal hall, Pan allegedly “uttered that he will ambush the SKTF,” which is tantamount to grave threats.
Photos taken from the Facebook page of Mayor Marcel Pan.
Prior to Villafuerte’s request for authorization to file cases against Pan, the latter in a series of Facebook posts on Feb 3, 4,5, 8, and 10 lambasted the provincial capitol and the SKTF for rampant quarrying activities in the province.
In his Facebook post on Feb. 4 entitled Camarines Sur Quarry: Pangalawang Serye, Pan said that when he assumed as Goa mayor on July 1, 2019, there were rampant quarrying activities in the town, yet not a single person was arrested by the SKTF. He accused the SKTF as the protector of the abusive quarry operators in his town.
He specifically named the town’s former Mayor Antero Lim and his wife Raquel as the persons behind the unabated quarrying activities.
Pan said SKTF kept a blind eye on the illegal activities of the Lim couple because they are allies of those in power at the provincial capitol.
He said that despite the thousands of cubic meters of quarry materials extracted in Goa from 2016 to 2019, not a single centavo was paid by the quarry operators to the LGU based on the Commission on Audit’s (COA) annual reports for those years.
Same thing happened in the neighboring town of San Jose, where from 2016 to 2018, the LGU did not receive any revenues from the quarrying operations in the town according to the annual reports of the COA. In was only in 2019 that the San Jose LGU under Mayor Macmac Chavez posted an income of P105,000.00 from quarry fees.
In the third part of the five-part series of Facebook posts on Camarines Sur quarry, which he posted on Feb. 5, Pan exposed rampant quarrying operations in the town of Siruma where white clay are continuously being extracted without a single centavo in quarry fees going to the municipal treasury from 2016 to 2019.
He said municipal police officials are afraid to arrest the quarry operators in the coastal town for fear of being relieved and reassigned to far-flung places like Masbate.
In his fourth post on Feb. 8, Pan posted pictures of the large scale quarry operations in the Pecuria Estate in Bula Camarines Sur. The drone photos showed the hills in Pecuria already flattened and destroyed. Like the other towns mentioned earlier, no quarry fee was paid to the Bula LGU from 2016 to 2019, the COA annual reports said.
Pan’s fifth post on Feb. 10 discussed and showed photos of the mountains subject of quarry operations in San Fernando town.
He said that the earthfill materials extracted from the mountains were used in the constructions of malls and building in Naga City. They are being used also in road widening projects in San Fernando and Milaor towns.
Pan said the earthfill materials extracted from these mountains are worth millions of pesos, yet he asked why for 2016 and 2017, the town did not get any revenues from quarry fees.
According to his post, it was only in 2018 and 2019 that the LGU collected P210,000.00 and P630,000.00 respectively in revenues from the quarry operations.