Angono Mayor Gerry Calderon is opposed to the planned expansion of quarrying operations in his town that would entail the felling of 6,500 trees.
Calderon said he is against the further extraction of minerals in the town, and that the town has requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for help in reassessing the area where Lafarge Republic, Inc. (LRI) plans to cut about 6,500 trees.
In a phone interview, the mayor told The Manila Times he wrote DENR Secretary Ramon Paje June 29 last year seeking clarification on the plan and the area for quarrying.
“My office has not received any communication,” he said.
He said he made it clear to Paje that he will not allow the extraction of minerals in the 19.99-hectare area, which covers Barangays San Isidro and San Roque.
Calderon said the previous municipal administration approved the feasibility study of Batong Angono Aggregates Corporation (BAAC), a concessionaire of LRI, on the quarrying operations.
When Calderon learned about the proposal last week, he inspected the areas to be cleared of trees.
He said local officials would like to hear the transition plan of LRI and BAAC when their planned tree-cutting and mining activities end in 2019 if they would be given a permit.
“They have a proposal to promote eco-tourism in the area, which is good for them and for us as well. But right now, everything is up in the air,” he said.
The mayor’s chief of staff, Allan Maniaol, told The Times the DENR allowed Concrete Aggregates, BAAC’s former name, to mine in an area covering 198 hectares.
“If the area is that big, why expand?” Calderon said.
Angono residents fear that the cutting of thousands of trees could trigger an environmental disaster because it could worsen floods and cause landslides.
Lafarge has yet to come out with a statement on the issue.
by Ghio Ong Correspondent