Marikina flood blamed on Rizal quarrying
Environment advocacy groups are calling on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to impose stiff penalties on erring quarry companies that are being blamed for the massive flooding in parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province last weekend.
Flooding particularly in Marikina City and Taytay town could have been averted if only the DENR declared a total stoppage of all quarrying operations in Rizal in recent years, according to Ian Rivera, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).
“This (suspension) should have been done a long time ago and it is very saddening that it is only now that the DENR acted on this perennial problem. In fact, even before Ondoy, the government should have already taken necessary action,” Rivera said.
Appeal to Digong
Rains dumped by the southwest monsoon over the weekend caused flooding on many parts of Marikina, bringing back memories of the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in September 2009.
Taytay residents appealed to President Duterte to stop the unabated quarrying in neighboring Antipolo City, and Rodriguez, Baras and Tanay towns, which they blamed for the soil erosion and siltation of the Marikina river.
Acting on Palace orders, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday directed Samuel Paragas, Mines and Geosciences Bureau director for Calabarzon, to immediately suspend existing quarrying licenses in Rizal.
Records showed that the MGB had approved 22 mineral production and sharing agreements (MPSA) in Rizal, covering a total area of 3,405.4 hectares, which is bigger than the city of Manila.
The provincial government, meanwhile, has granted 13 quarry permits, for a total area of about 65 hectares.
For PMCJ, Cimatu “must go further towards stopping property developments that destroy the watersheds surrounding the National Capital Region.”
Not just quarrying
“This (suspension) order must not only be issued in Rizal but also in other communities devastated by quarrying, mining, both metallic and coal, and other areas where there are presence of extractive industries and environmentally critical projects,” the group said.
In an earlier statement, Cimatu said the DENR would focus on dredging Marikina River in order to deepen the riverbed and mitigate future floods. “Flooding is really inevitable because if we look at the surrounding areas, the trees are gone. So all we can do is to come up with remedial measures,” he said.
DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said a team had been sent to Rizal quarry sites to validate the complaints.
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