Police haul 5 in La Union town illegal quarry

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BAGUIO CITY (October 21, 2021) – Policemen caught five men illegally quarrying along the Aringay River in Tubao town, La Union Tuesday night.

The five – Lito Orencia, 40, pay loader operator; Sammy Laconsay, 50, backhoe operator; Irzo Mapalo, 50, a barangay kagawad and also operator of the dump truck; Rolly Salvatiera, 37, driver of another dump truck and Michael Orencia, 39, helper of another dump truck, were caught excavating and rocks and stones at the river but have not been able to show any quarrying permit.

This after the La Union provincial government issued an order to shut down illegal quarry operations along Aringay River in Tubao on September 23, 2021. In the same order, the provincial government asked a certain Edelberto C. Garcia “to cease and desist your extraction activities outside the applied area.”

The illegal quarrying in Tubao was discovered last month after the provincial government received a report of the operation along the river. Based on the forwarded pictures from a concerned citizen, the operation was allegedly undertaken by Garcia in Barangay Leones East, Tubao.

Garcia though has an ongoing renewal application of his industrial sand and gravel permit in La Union.

The provincial government, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) Region 1, earlier investigated the area
but based on the plotting, the extraction site was found to be outside the applied permit area of Garcia. Thereafter, they recommended through a memorandum on September 17, 2021 stating that Garcia was operating outside his permitted area.

The environment officials recommended that Garcia stop his operation, rehabilitate the area where he extracted the sand outside his area and pay the penalty for violating Article 9, Section 2A of Provincial Ordinance 274-2021.

They also asked the local government unit of Tubao to monitor extraction along Aringay River to avoid illegal operation and extraction activities.

But Garcia’s operation reportedly continued, prompting policemen from the 2nd La Union Provincial Mobile Company, Tubao police and DENR, PENRO La Union and MGB personnel to hatch a plan to catch them in their actual operation.

The five, all workers of Garcia, were charged with violations of the Philippine Mining Law (RA7942).

Artemio A. Dumlao