Cebu City Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella has directed the City Mining and Regulatory Board (CCMRB) to immediately act on the danger posed by small-scale limestone quarrying activities in the northern mountain villages of the city.
Labella said he first learned about the dangerous quarrying activities in the upland villages from residents of Barangays Kalunasan, Binaliw and Pulangbato, who brought the concern to his office.
“They (residents) are afraid because of the soil erosion. These (quarrying activities) have destroyed the roads,” he said on Saturday.
Yesterday, Labella said he visited the affected villages and personally saw the damage that the quarrying has caused, putting at risk the lives and properties of the residents day by day.
Taken into account the limestone composition of the mountains that surround the city, Labella said the quarrying would further hasten the soil erosion in the affected areas.
Labella said he has already sent a letter to CCMRB chairperson Loreto Alburo, asking the latter that something has to be done to mitigate the environmental effects of the activity.
As the principal author of City Ordinance No. 2115 or the Cebu City Mining Ordinance when he was still a councilor, Labella said the concerns raised by the residents should be acted on promptly by the city government.
“With the city’s policy to ‘ensure the preservation of the environment as well as the advancement of the rights of its inhabitants to a balanced and healthy ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,’ I submit that the concerns raised by these residents are valid and should be acted promptly through the remedies provided for by the ordinance and other pertinent environmental laws,” Labella said in his letter to CCMRB.
Labella added that should the quarrying activities be allowed to continue, it would also aggravate the flooding problem in the lowland and other areas in the city’s urban center.
Earlier this week, a cease and desist order has been issued by the city government to an illegal quarrying site in Barangay Kalunasan operated by its own village chief. The quarrying site has no quarry permit, according to the city’s environmental offices.
Also, the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) has endorsed to the City Legal Office at least three cease and desist orders to halt illegal quarry operations in the northern mountain barangays.