DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The quarry operations in Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), Davao del Norte might turn the island into another Boracay if not given an immediate attention by the concerned agencies, an official said.
In a press conference on Wednesday, IGACOS Vice Mayor Orly Amit mentioned some four big-time quarry operators extracting in the mountain areas of the island, particularly in Mt. Tagbay which is a protected and production forest area.
He said these operators had violated the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) which prohibits quarrying beyond an elevation of 300 above sea level.
“Wala ko’y problema sa quarry kung kuhaon nila gikan sa river, kay ang river mu-replenish man automatically. If you get the quarry materials in the mountain, kinsa’y musumpay anang bukid? (I dont have a problem if they quarry at the river because it replenishes automatically. If you get the quarry materials from the mountain, who will replenish it?)” Amit explained.
The vice mayor added that the permits of these operators had been hold as he complained, yet their operations still continued.
He said the operators claimed that these quarry materials are being used for building concrete roads.
Amit said that by law, the quarry operation is approved by the provincial government.
As he questioned the operation, he said Davao del Norte Gov. Antonio del Rosario stated in a letter that “it will respect the local laws of the city despite having the authority to give permit.”
However, “the problem in Samal island is we are not respecting our local laws,” Amit stressed.
He pointed out the importance of mountains, saying that “it serves as recharge area of the aqua fare.”
He said “the violation started from the mountain going down to the coastline.” This affects the low land and would cause soil erosion, he said.
Meanwhile, the Samal island city council had already signed a document calling the attention of the provincial government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), stating that “they are against environmental violations.”
As the head of the city council, Amit clarified he is not against the development of the island.
“I don’t want to be misinterpreted. We welcome investors there because we need investors. But if you invest there and destroy our environment, there is no balance there,” he explained.
He said the city council had already crafted legislative measures to protect the island, especially now that “Samal is taking off,” he stressed.
He also mentioned the recommended bridge by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
“Kung may tulay na dyan, the more that we should be very careful,” he said.
“Even if the legislation is there, if nobody dares to implement it, wala pa rin,” he added.
Presently, Samal island has a 104,000 population. (davaotoday.com)