Bacaltos to MGB: Did you receive bribe from ALQC?

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo October 08,2018 - 11:17 PM

Engr. Armando L. Malicse (standing) MGB’s head of the mine safety, environment and social
development division, talks about the events leading to the tragic landslide that claimed more than 70 lives in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan, Naga City during Monday’s legislative inquiry initiated by the Provincial Board.

Is it possible that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-7) may have been bribed by Apo Land and Quarry Corp. (ALQC) prompting the agency to recommend the lifting of the cease and desist order against the latter’s quarry operations in Naga City?

First district Board Member Raul Bacaltos posed this question to Engr. Armando Malicse who represented the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-7) during the legislative inquiry conducted by the provincial board on Monday.

Bacaltos insinuated that the MGB-7 might have received bribes from the ALQC prompting the agency to recommend to Naga City Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong to lift the cease and desist order that the latter has issued against the quarry operations despite the manifestation of cracks in Naga’s mountain areas.

During the legislative inquiry, Malicse discussed the circumstances surrounding the landslide and affirmed that MGB-7 has recommended on September 4 that the quarry operations may resume since the cracks that manifested in the area are caused by natural phenomenon and do not pose imminent danger to the community.

Chiong issued a CDO against the quarry operations of ALQC in Sitio Tagaytay because of the reported cracks.

“Maong gi-release to ninyo ang certification tungod kay dunay padangog,” Bacaltos said upfront during the inquiry.

In a separate interview, Bacaltos said that he only echoed the questions that were asked by the public.

Asked if he himself believed that bribe money did change hands, Bacaltos simply said, “Kung unsa ang naa sa inyong hunahuna, mao pod ang naa sa akoa.”

Not a single centavo

Malicse, for his part, vehemently denied Bacaltos’ claims saying their office never received a single centavo from any company.

Malicse, the head of MGB-7’s mine safety, environment and social development division added that if there is a lesson that should be learned from the landslide, it should be on how to appreciate the data that their office releases.

Malicse said they have already released a geohazard warning with regards to the landslide susceptibility of the area but “the people chose to neglect it.”

He however, admitted that the team who inspected the cracks in Sitio Tagaytay failed to foresee the possibility that the debris from the landslide, which has so far claimed more than 70 lives, would reach and cover Sitio Sindulan.

Lot donation ok’d

Meanwhile, the provincial board also passed a resolution on Monday allowing the province to donate a two-hectare portion of Balili property to the Naga City government.

The lot will be used as relocation site for the landslide victims who will be displaced by the delineation of the 170-hectare critical zone surrounding and within the ground zero of the landslide.

The National Housing Authority earlier pledged to construct a 320-unit socialized housing project worth at least P175 million while the city government committed 80 housing units worth P25 million.

Work for evacuees

Meanwhile, there’s good news for the thousands of evacuees temporarily housed in various evacuation centers.

This after the Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (Dole-7) has decided to hire some of them through the agency’s TUPAD or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers program.

Under Tupad, evacuees will be rendering 8 hours as repackers at the Naga City Hall and select evacuation centers, and earn a wage rate of P386 per day. /with Correspondent Zena V. Magto

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TAGS: ALQC, Bacaltos, bribe, did, MGB, receive, you

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