Stop Napsan quarrying, Carbonell says
A councilor in Puerto Princesa City called for the immediate implementation of the recommendation to stop the quarrying operations at Kilometer 35 in Barangay Napsan. Councilor Jimmy Carbonell said that the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO) has earlier recommended to Mayor Lucilo Bayron to stop all the quarrying operations of Ivy Michelle Trading & Construction. It should be implemented pending the result of the interagency ocular inspection in the area last Wednesday, the councilor said. Carbonell said that his personal assessment of quarrying activities is “not for slope protection and stabilization but for commercial pur- poses.” The company didn’t care enough to uproot trees in the area just so it could open access roads for its quarrying at the back of the incline, he said. “Gumawa sila ng daan para sa kanilang gagawing activities sa likod na hindi naman na kasama sa slope stabilization. Hindi ako naniniwala na ini-authorized ni Mayor [Bayron] yan,” Carbonell pointed out. He said that he learned from the driver of Ivy Michelle Trading that over 625 trucks of aggregates and earth materials had already been hauled from the Kilometer 35 area for use in the road widening projects in Barangay Iwahig. Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Felizardo Cayatoc of the local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said, on the other hand, said Ivy Michelle should have conducted “an assessment of the slope protection and stabilization project before it extracted aggregates in Napsan.” Right now, the quarrying even worsened the stability of the soil which can further cause erosion, he said. “May proseso pa supposedly bago mag-undertake [nang slope protection] para malaman kung anong method. We have to look into the soil. Merong mga procedures yan. Hindi lang yung bakbak ng bakbak yan na ginagalaw yang bundok. Baka lalong mag cave-in, baka lalong magcause ng erosion,” Cayatoc said. He said he wants to know if the firm “has a design on the slope stabilization project it is using as a reason for its
extraction activities in the area, which is still a part of the certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) of the Tagbanua dwellers of Napsan.” Cayatoc said Ivy Michelle should have this to prove it knows what it is doing in the area. Cayatoc said there are several measures that can be undertaken in areas that are prone to landslide and erosion, such as the installation of gabions, long fiber coconut coir erosion control mats, or other appropriate measures. “Mas maganda sana kung makikita natin ang plano at ang design ng slope stabilization para malaman din natin kung hanggang saan,” he said. Cayatoc said they are also conducting a separate investigation of Ivy Michelle’s operations, especially the cutting of trees, which have no permits.
Tagbanua indigenous peoples Tagbanua (IP) leader indigenous Jacinto Torce, said Ivy Michelle started its quarrying activities and tree clearing in their area on August 1, 2018. “Sa aming pagbabantay at pag-iikot sa area na sakop ng aming CADT ay nakita namin silang nag-clearing dito. Ito ay sakop ng aming lupaing ninuno at pinagkatiwala ito ng gobyerno sa amin at may malaki kaming responsibilidad dito tapos sisirain lang nila,” he said. The interagency inspection was conducted with IP representative Councilor Nestor Saavedra, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). Carbonell said he expects the results fo be out by Monday so that it can be presented to the City Council.