Illegal sand hauling found in reservoir near village

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MABALACAT CITY—Several people used a payloader and dump trucks to illegally extract and haul sand near the reservoirs that supply water to a subdivision in Tabun village here on Saturday and Sunday, residents said.

A supervisor of this city’s Task Force Quarry told the Inquirer that at least 10,000 truckloads of sand were illegally extracted 50 meters to a few hundred meters away from the fence of Xevera subdivision, where the two reservoirs that supply water to more than 3,000 households are located.

The implementing rules and regulations of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7942) prohibit “extraction, removal and disposition of quarry materials within a distance of one kilometer from the boundaries of reservoirs established for public water supply… and any public or private works or structures.”

Between Nov. 20 last year and March 14 this year, a

24-hour quarrying operation was also done at the back of the Xevera subdivision.

City quarry task force checkers, with the aid of city traffic management group, struggled to prevent trucks from entering the quarry site for a few days in February but failed due to lack of police assistance.

The Xevera residents informed Supt. Ferdinand Perez, chief of police here, of the resumption of the sand extraction last week but he did not act on it. Perez did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone by the Inquirer.

Earlier, Perez refused to send policemen to assist the quarry checkers, saying it was the function of the quarry task force, although the ordinance that created the task force designates the chief of police as a member.

Personnel of the provincial environment and natural resources office inspected the site thrice from November to March and concluded that the quarried areas were within the boundary of Pampanga, and do not belong to nearby Tarlac. They said the quarrying was illegal because the operator had no permit from the provincial government.

In February, Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales ordered the city quarry task force to prevent trucks from going to the quarry area but withdrew his order after barely a day for unknown reason.

The map of Pampanga shows that the quarried areas belong to Mabalacat. It shows that the territorial boundary between this city and Bamban, Tarlac, is more than 2 km away from the perimeter fence of Xevera subdivision.

On Saturday, the Inquirer informed Mayor Morales about the resumption of illegal quarrying through a text message. The mayor, however, did not respond. Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon

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