ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has formed a composite team that will investigate quarrying operations around Mayon Volcano, and establish if these were the culprit for the lahar flow that killed at least six residents at the height of typhoon Rolly last week. Mr. Cimatu said the team, to be led by his department, is composed of officials from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Environmental Management Bureau, and the local government. Around 12 quarrying operations have been suspended near the volcano in the typhoon’s aftermath. Mr. Cimatu said the probe will mainly focus on the 12 quarrying sites, but all other operations within the vicinity of Mayon Volcano will also be checked. “The concentration of the investigation is the culpability of these 12 quarrying sites which operate at the same river that there were casualties,” he said. If cleared, the quarry operators will be allowed to resume.
Mr. Cimatu also explained that quarrying operations are primarily under the monitoring of provincial or city regulatory mining board (PCRMB) as provided under Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) administrative order No. 2010-21. PCRMBs are tasked to check and approve the mining permit applications of quarry, sand and gravel, guano, gemstone gathering, and small-scale mining operations. “All quarrying in the provinces is being managed by the regulatory board there composed of DENR, local government unit, and other agencies of government in one province. The chairman of that is the regional director of MGB and the vice-chairman is the governor,” Mr. Cimatu said. Industry groups and non-government organizations are represented in the board. At the same time, he added, the provincial governor also has authority to issue permits for quarrying in accordance with Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave
Tropical depression Tonyo moves out as another LPA under monitoring
WIND and rain warning signals related to tropical depression Tonyo, which reached just level 1, were lifted as of 5 p.m. Sunday as the weather disturbance moved out towards the West Philippine Sea. Tonyo, the 20th storm to enter the country this year, was located 185 kilometers west of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro as of 4 p.m. Sunday and expected to be out of the Philippine area by Monday morning. It is forecasted to intensify into a tropical storm on its way out. Meanwhile, weather bureau PAGASA is monitoring a low pressure area (LPA) spotted 920 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur as of 1 p.m. It will be named Ulysses if it develops into a tropical depression. PAGASA Weather Specialist Chris Perez, in a briefing Sunday afternoon, said the LPA may pass through the southern and central Luzon areas within the next two to three days.