DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Davao City Council has approved 30 commercial sand and gravel applications after the Davao City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) assured that these quarry operations doesn’t harm the environment.
CENRO said it recommended the quarry applications to the City Councilors last Monday, December 03. Citing its data, the agency has approved 96 permits for sand and gravel quarrying while 63 of these permits are actively operating and being closely monitored by CENRO.
In a phone interview with Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, there were six applications under his committee in the beginning but due to lack of quorum in the council, the number of applications has risen.
Mahipus told Davao Today that his committee avoided a possible complaint due to the extended discussion of the application of the allowable use of sand and gravel operation in the city.
“We cannot let this to take any longer because they too many. My concern is the possible complaint against the committee that we are not working” said Mahipus.
However, despite the approval of the permit for the 18 applications, Councilor Maria Belen Acosta stood firm in its position to oppose while waiting for the report of Davao River Resource Sustainability Assessment of which CENRO failed to provide during the Council’s last session.
“There is no need to hurry on this. What I am saying is we should wait first the scientific data and the technical assessment of CENRO before we approved the application” Acosta said.
Acosta said she wants to know first the threshold of how many quarry operations could be done in the city, fearing that it could impact the environment.
She warned of the possible effects of the number of quarry operations in the Davao River as it may cause heavy floods, among others.
During today’s session, Acosta urged the Council to consider the postponement of the votes for the 3rd and final reading of the application until the assessment report was provided pending deliberation.
“Let us wait for one or two sessions for this so that we can be assured of our decisions that there are no long-term repercussions or effects,” Acosta said.
Acosta has expressed hope that City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would intervene with the approval of the application.
Meanwhile, lawyer Mark Peñalver, policy advocacy specialist of IDIS said that as part of the City Development council they also ask for a scientific study so as to ensure that the threshold and capacity of the Davao River system is followed.
“We don’t sign any document that would endorse the approval of the application for we also want to know the capacity of the river system,” Peñalversaid.
“We will review the Water Shed code, Zoning Ordinance, and some other national laws to check if there are violations on this,” Peñalver added. (davaotoday.com)