The Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR), through its regional office in CALABARZON, has formed four composite teams to investigate quarry operations in Rizal following a massive flooding that submerged some parts of the province and Marikina City during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses last month.

Equipped with aerial mapping drones, the investigating teams will zero in on the quarry operations within the Marikina River Basin, which residents blamed for the destructive Ulysses floods.

The composite teams were created in line with a memorandum order earlier issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 4A temporarily suspending at least 11 quarry and crushing plant operators within the river basin, which river system drains toward the Marikina River.

Each team is composed of representatives from the DENR-CALABARZON, and central and regional offices of the MGB, Environmental Management Bureau, and Biodiversity Management Bureau.

The suspension order was issued against 11 companies, five of them are holders of mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) – Asensio-Pinzon Aggregates Corporation, San Rafael Development Corporation, Montalban Millex Aggregates Corporation, Hardrock Aggregates, Inc., and Rapid City Realty and Development Corporation.

Also suspended were six firms with existing mineral processing permits – Oxford Mines, Inc., Viba Aggregates & Marketing; Amiterra Aggregates Corporation, Dream Rock Resources Phils., Inc., Superior Aggregates, Inc., and ATN Holdings, Inc.

It provides that the suspension is effective until the composite teams have completed their assessments and submitted their reports on the cause of the extreme flooding.

DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement, Mining, and Muslim Affairs Jim Sampulna described the directive as “very timely” considering the situation in Marikina City and portions of Rizal province.

“The DENR has to reevaluate the operation of all mining companies in the area so we can find out whether they contributed to the massive flooding during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses,” Sampulna said.

According to MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano, the directive was in response to a call made by Rizal provincial government.

Governor Rebecca Ynares had earlier urged the DENR to suspend the mining permits of quarry operators in the province pending the conduct of a comprehensive probe as to whether quarrying contributed to the floods.

Moncano said the MGB has already instructed the holders of mining permits in the area to use their Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences Funds to conduct research on the sediment influx of quarry operation to determine its contribution to the siltation of Marikina River. ###