Court grants TEPO

The Freeman - - FRONT PAGE - Grace Me­lanie I. La­camiento Mylen P. Manto May B. Mi­asco Staff Mem­bers

The Re­gional Trial Court has granted the 72-hour tem­po­rary en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion or­der (TEPO) sought by sur­vivors of the Naga land­slide in their P4.5 bil­lion class ac­tion suit.

The or­der is meant to stop Apo Land and Quarry Corp. from do­ing quarry op­er­a­tion within its ten­e­ment in Naga City.

Judge Den­nis Lar­ro­bis of RTC Branch 76 is­sued the or­der yes­ter­day.

"In fine, in view of the con­tin­u­ing threats to life and health of the in­hab­i­tants of Naga City, Cebu and more di­rectly to the work­ers of de­fen­dant, Apo Land and Quarry Corp., and ap­ply­ing Sec­tion 3(a) of the Rules of Pro­ce­dure for En­vi­ron­men­tal Cases that rec­og­nizes the right of the peo­ple to a bal­anced and health­ful ecol­ogy pur­suant to Sec­tion 16, Ar­ti­cle II of the Con­sti­tu­tion, this court hereby grants the same," reads Lar­ro­bis' or­der.

Lar­ro­bis said the court had to is­sue the or­der ur­gently af­ter Naga City's Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment Of­fice an­nounced that the newly found cracks in the moun­tain slopes of Apo Land's quarry site in Barangays Ti­naan, Naalad, Inobu­ran, Mainit, and Cabun­ga­han face "imme­nent threat" of soil ero­sion.

The court also took into ac­count the or­der is­sued by De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Sec­re­tary Roy Ci­matu sus­pend­ing for 15 days the quarry op­er­a­tions in Naga fol­low­ing the deadly land­slide on Septem­ber 20.

At least 78 were killed in the land­slide.

Lar­ro­bis said there is no as­sur­ance the or­der will be ex­tended.

Lawyer Ben­jamin Cabrido, one of the vol­un­teer lawyers and head of the Philip­pine Earth Jus­tice Cen­ter Inc. that helped the sur­vivors file the case, said a sum­mary hear­ing will be con­ducted to ex­tend the TEPO.

The court has sched­uled the sum­mary hear­ing at 3 p.m. on Novem­ber 14, 2018.

He said the is­suance of the TEPO is an ini­tial vic­tory.

"It means the court is con­vinced based on the al­le­ga­tions in the com­plaint there is war­ranted an or­der to stop quarry op­er­a­tions of ApoLand," Cabrido said.

FI­NAN­CIAL AID

Mean­while, at least 100 fam­i­lies af­fected by the land­slide have re­ceived their checks from the Naga City gov­ern­ment.

The city gave the fi­nan­cial aid re­gard­less of whether or not the fam­ily par­tic­i­pated in the class ac­tion suit.

Ruth Rowena Alen­sonorin, head of the city's pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fice, be­lied once again the al­le­ga­tion that the city with­held the cash aid of those who joined the class ac­tion suit. She said the sign­ing of the checks was de­layed be­cause Mayor Kris­tine Chiong was out of town.

Dis­tri­bu­tion will con­tinue un­til all 444 fam­i­lies are given checks.

The pro­cess­ing and re­leas­ing of the checks were done at the city trea­surer's of­fice in the pres­ence of the mayor.

The re­cip­i­ents were asked to present the man­i­fest or dec­la­ra­tion and a poster as proof that they were among those whose houses were lo­cated within the crit­i­cal zone iden­ti­fied by MGB.

All 444 dis­placed fam­i­lies are en­ti­tled to re­ceive P50,000 as fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

An ad­di­tional P50,000 will be given to fam­i­lies whose houses were de­stroyed while those whose houses were dam­age will re­ceive an ad­di­tional P20,000.

“The cash as­sis­tance is over and above the houses that will be built for them. It's sup­posed to help them in the tran­si­tion pe­riod while wait­ing for the con­struc­tion of their houses to be com­pleted,” she said.

The fam­i­lies can choose be­tween go­ing to the re­lo­ca­tion sites or build­ing a new house else­where.

The re­lo­ca­tions sites are the Balili prop­erty in Barangays Inobu­ran and Tina-an and the hous­ing project in Barangay Va­len­cia in neigh­bor­ing Car­car City.

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