Apo Land or­dered to stop Naga quarrying

Sun.Star Cebu - - TOP STORIES -

The Re­gional Trial Court (RTC) in the City of Naga has is­sued a tem­po­rary en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion or­der (Tepo) against Apo Land and Quarry Corp. (ALQC), di­rect­ing the own­ers of the min­ing firm to re­frain from con­duct­ing any fur­ther op­er­a­tions.

The Tepo was granted two days af­ter lawyers led by Ben­jamin Cabrido filed a P4.5 bil­lion class suit against ALQC, its sis­ter com­pany Ce­mex Philip­pines, the City of Naga, the Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment and the Mines and Geo­sciences Bureau (MGB).

“There’s no time to re­joice. A lot of work is still ahead,” Cabrido told Sun­Star Cebu.

But ALQC cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic af­fairs di­rec­tor Chito Ma­ni­ago said their op­er­a­tions have been sus­pended since the land­slide struck Si­tio Sin­du­lan in Barangay Tina-an last Sept. 20.

RTC Branch 76 As­sist­ing Judge Den­nis Lar­ro­bis said the Tepo will cover seven min­ing pro­duc­tion shar­ing agree­ments is­sued to ALQC al­low­ing the firm to quarry in the City of Naga.

Lar­ro­bis ap­proved the Tepo in view of the “con­tin­u­ing threats to life and health of the in­hab­i­tants of the City of Naga and more di­rectly to the work­ers of ALQC.”

He also agreed that there is “ex­treme ur­gency” to is­sue the Tepo af­ter more cracks were found on the ground in Barangays Tina-an, Naalad, Inobu­ran, Mainit and Cabun­ga­han, which could cause soil ero­sion.

Ma­ni­ago told Sun­Star Cebu they re­ceived a copy of the Tepo around 5 p.m. on Fri­day, Nov. 9.

Con­trary to the com­plainants’ be­lief, he said the firm stopped quarry op­er­a­tions in the city af­ter it re­ceived cease-and-de­sist or­ders from the MGB.

ALQC’s lawyers and the land­slide vic­tims are set to meet in Lar­ro­bis’ sala to de­ter­mine if there is a need to ex­tend the Tepo.

In their pe­ti­tion, the land­slide vic­tims sought the is­suance of a Tepo against ALQC to ex­tend the ad­min­is­tra­tive sus­pen­sion is­sued by En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Roy Ci­matu against the firm.

Last Sept. 21, Ci­matu sus­pended quarrying op­er­a­tions for 15 days in eight re­gions, in­clud­ing Cen­tral Visayas, fol­low­ing the deadly Sin­du­lan land­slide. But eight large-scale quarry op­er­a­tors and 15 in­dus­trial sand and gravel op­er­a­tors in Cen­tral Visayas are back to their reg­u­lar op­er­a­tions af­ter they were given clear­ance by the MGB 7 last month.

“This ad­min­is­tra­tive sus­pen­sion or­der may be short-lived as most of the quarry firms sus­pended along with Apo Land are now back in busi­ness as usual af­ter a brief 15-day lull of op­er­a­tions,” the pe­ti­tion said.

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