151 firms engaged in Mayon minerals quarry produce millions for Albay | BICOL TODAY

151 firms engaged in Mayon minerals quarry produce millions for Albay

Photo from Rah Bah Sero FB

By Manly M. Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY — More than 100 firms engaged in Mayon mineral quarry are increasing in numbers as they enjoy the profitable trade that also produces millions for Albay Province as a result of a provincial ordinance amended in 2016.

From an annual average income of only P10 million a year, the province has boasted early of an easy income of P300 million for 2018.

The amended ordinance, however, did not set well for the poor Albayanos who use to enjoy free gathering and collections of aggregates in Albay rivers which residents claimed are now almost covered with concessionaires at a high rate. Residents have to pay P400 for a cubic of sand and more for gravel when bought in hardware.

The amended Mayon quarry ordinance was sponsored by provincial board member Rolly Rosal that increases the rate of aggregates per cubic, prompting Gov. Al Francis Bichara late last year to guess that by the end of the year 2018, Albay would earn an annual income of not less than P300 million from Mayon aggregates quarry, such as sand, gravel, and boulders.

Rosal was then chairman of the Committee on Environment in 2016 when he sponsored the amended quarry ordinance. He was succeeded by board member Job Belen.

Board Member Allan Rañola said that true to the statement of the governor, from the usual average annual income of only P10 million from Mayon aggregates under the administration of former governor Joey Salceda, Albay has already posted an income of P77,000 million early this year from its more than 50 concessionaires. By August, Albay quarry tax has gone fast to P200 million, said Ranola.

Salceda reportedly did not take the advantage he saw in tax quarry as he prefers more for the Albayanos’ interests, especially the poor to enjoy free collections of aggregates God has given through Mt. Mayon.

Gov. Bichara spokesman Danny Garcia confirmed Ranola’s figures, adding that close to 100 quarry concessionaires have already jumped up to 151, with markets delivered outside the region by land and sea.

Described as a first class-type of aggregates being produced by Mayon, inter-island vessels have flooded ports in the province to buy Mayon aggregates without limit.

A source said many concessionaires have already expanded quarrying of gravel and sand, at the high portion of Mt. Mayon covered by the 7-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone. The Philippine Volcanic and Seismology has declared the six-kilometer danger zone as no man’s land.

The income-producing aggregates from Mayon, however, did not set well from some members of the provincial board. Last January, Rosal delivered a privilege speech during the regularly held Sanguniang Panlalawigan session describing the Mayon quarry as heavily tainted with corruption. Rosal also lashed at the swollen increase of sand price reaching to P400 per cubic, not covered by a Sangguniang resolution.

Early last September, a Sanggunian Panlalawigan probe led by the Committee on Housing and Land Use was held after some concessionaires surfaced and bared corruptions in their aggregates supply and delivery, implicating personalities at the capitol.

Housing and Land Use chair Board Member Howard Imperial presented one Noli Ferrer during the September 11 session who claimed he had been delivering kickback money to certain capitol officials, including at the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources office. A former barangay chair and alleged political officer of Gov. Bichara was tagged during the hearing as the leading figure in the scandal, according to Ferrer testimony which was corroborated by other witnesses during the Sept 19, succeeding SP probe.

Witnesses testimony, however, did not cite any involvement of the Governor in the scandal, other than saying the former barangay chair dubbed by the witnesses as Kapitan Bilang for his frequency being seen while counting money, is allegedly holding office at the capitol.

Imperial clarified that, based on the testimony of witnesses, some P70 million from quarry goes to kickback, saying from January to August, some 4 million cubics of Mayon aggregates have already been extracted and delivered by concessionaires within the province and outside the region, to as far as Metro Manila and Mindanao.

Imperial said that the increase of rate in the quarry is the lone decision of the capitol quoting the testimony of Capitol legal officer retired judge Jose Rubio during the SP probe.

Witnesses’ testimony said that of the minimum 1,600 cubics of aggregates applied for delivery by a concessionaire at the capitol, receipt issued by the Treasurer’s office at the capitol for payment, however, is only for 500 cubic.

In addition, a separate pre-paid P7 per cubic is allegedly imposed per cubic for local delivery upon application of the number of volumes to be delivered for the local market. For outside the province delivery of aggregates, the pre-paid charge imposed was pegged at P25 per cubic, according to the witnesses’ testimony.

According to Ferrer testimony, the prepaid P7 and P25 charge per cubic are separate from the goodwill money one has to produce for applicants for a quarry permit, saying the scandal which he had been exposing in his Facebook account since he began with his quarry business deserves Congressional probe. [BicolToday.com]

Posted by on October 14, 2018. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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