Quarrying of 91 firms in Albay may soon resume

    Aftermath. A house is partially submerged in debris after Typhoon Rolly swept through Daraga, Albay on Nov. 1, 2020. (Reuters photo)

    The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has recommended to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the lifting of the suspension of 91 quarry operators in Albay and allow them to resume operations to empty and restore the capacity of river channels around Mayon Volcano.

    Wilfredo Moncano, MGB director, said the 91 quarry operators were part of the 106 suspended by the DENR following the lahar flow in the area in the aftermath of Typhoon Rolly that hit the country last month.

    Moncano said the 91 were found to be compliant of DENR regulations following a probe conducted by a task force.

    Moncano said the remaining 15 will remain suspended due to several violations.

    “An increased rate of quarrying is needed to empty and restore the capacity of the river channels, so that when rain comes with eroded material from the slopes of Mayon Volcano, the restored river channel can serve as the pathway to accommodate and remobilize the eroded material,” Moncano said.

    He said the companies may be allowed to continue their operations, subject to strict monitoring under the terms and conditions of their existing permits.

    “These quarry firms were proven to have followed quarry regulations, such as not operating beyond their permit area and having an active Environmental Compliance Certificate,” Moncano said.

    The MGB dismissed claims quarrying operations around Mayon Volcano were to blame for the lahar flooding that buried some 180 houses and killed at least six people.

    “The quarrying has an insignificant contribution to the lahar flow devastation caused by Super Typhoon Rolly because it was a combination of huge volume of water, stocked lahar that came from the slope and foot of Mayon Volcano,” Moncano said.

    MGB will endorse for technical review and possible sanctions or penalties to the Environmental Management Bureau the cases of the 15 quarry operators.