Court grants TEPO
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.
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.