Pampanga halts quarrying for 15 days; P30-million losses seen
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda suspended the quarry operations in the province for 15 days starting Tuesday to give truckers time to comply with the law against overloading.
The suspension would cost the province at least P30 million in potential revenues, according to Romeo Dungca, head of the local quarry regulatory unit, Kalam.
Since Pineda assumed office in July 2019, Pampanga has earned P2.119 billion from the P150 sand tax, P250 administrative fee, charges, fines and penalties generated from the quarry industry thriving on the sand and gravel that Mt. Pinatubo spewed in 1991.
The P150 sand tax is distributed at a 40-30-30-percent sharing among barangays, towns or cities, and provinces, according to provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991.
Pineda said the 15-day period would give truck owners and hauling companies the time to cut the sidings of their vehicles based on the gross weights allowed by the antioverloading law, or Republic Act No. 8794. The provincial government has accredited 7,000 trucks to ply around Pampanga.
“We need to preserve our roads against overloaded vehicles. Public funds will go to waste if we keep repairing instead of maintaining and preventing damage,” the governor said after meeting with officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) Corp. and several other agencies on Tuesday.
Leaders of five quarry associations and trucking companies welcomed the governor’s order, saying it was “for the common good.”
The DPWH agreed with the 33-ton weight limit and rerouting plan that NLEx Corp. enforced on NLEx’s Candaba Viaduct, which required additional rehabilitation following “severe” damage it incurred after repairs in 2018.Pineda said he was not opposing the weight limit and rerouting scheme of NLEx Corp. He appealed to haulers passing through Pampanga roads to comply with allowable weights.
He had asked the DPWH to form a team from various agencies to help the provincial government in accrediting trucks transporting Mt. Pinatubo’s sand and rocks from within the province.
Quarry income helped Pampanga become the third best performing province for having the highest locally sourced income and fifth in collection efficiency in the 2021 ranking by the Bureau of Local Government Finance. —TONETTE OREJAS
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