Celso: ‘Why blame Me?’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 10:44

By JUBELS SANTOS

Congressman Celso Lobregat on Tuesday said he has called for a thorough and impartial investigation of the Pulang Lupa incident, the same as the position adopted by the City Council.

Sad to say, however, before the result of an investigation is reported or released, a statement was issued blaming the previous administration for the quarrying operations in Pulang Lupa, Barangay Patalon, lamented Lobregat.]

Lobregat was reacting to a statement published in local dailies and in local radio stations by Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar blaming the previous administration — obviously referring to Lobregat administration — for the massive destruction in Pulang Lupa caused by illegal quarrying activities.

Lobregat, interviewed over E-media, RMN and TV 11 on Monday, July 20, showed documents he obtained from the Zambo Ecozone about the discovery of quarrying operations in Pulang Lupa, Patalon.

As documents revealed, at least five (5) permits to extract sand and gravel and other quarrying resources were signed by Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar covering the period from 2013 to 2015.

One such permit was issued by former mayor, now Congressman Celso Lobregat which was valid from June 5 2012 to June 5, 2013 issued to Alberto Agustin.

The rest of the quarrying permits with the corresponding validity period signed by the incumbent mayor where issued to the following:

FEDERICO CAUTIVAR      (May 13, 2015 to May 13, 2016)

DAN DELA CRUZ               (Nov. 20, 2013 to Nov. 20, 2014)

CHARLY RAMOS                                (Nov. 27, 2014 to Nov. 27, 2015)

CRISANTE SORIANO        (Jan, 15, 2014 to Jan. 15, 2015)

OWEN ONGCHUA            (Nov. 13, 2014 to Feb. 13, 2015)

Lobregat asked, “How can the mayor blame the previous administration when the quarrying activities were undertaken during her term. The one permit issued by Lobregat expired before his term as mayor ended in June 30, 2013.

Besides, Lobregat said the quarrying operations at Pulang Lupa, Patalon were discovered after ALFRANZ trading (a small-scale mining enterprise) conducted a site inspection in relation to their small-scale mining application at Pulang Lupa.

Recall, ALFRANZ had applied for registration as a locator of Zambo Ecozone on March 24, 2005 which was subsequently approved on June 14 of the same year.

After complying with all requirements for its mining application, ALFRANZ applied with the Office of the City Mayor for a mining permit as small-scale mining falls within the jurisdiction of the Local Government Unit (LGU).

Lobregat formed the City Mining Regulatory Board in 2007 to tackle the application, or 2 years after ALFRANZ went through the regulatory process.

The Board subsequently issued the small-scale mining permit to ALFRANZ for a period of 2 years from July 20, 2007 to July 19, 2009 covering twenty (20) hectares.

However, Lobregat said ALFRANZ failed to operate because of their problem with lot owners in the area who refused to allow their hauling trucks to pass their property without paying them certain fees.

So that, in 2010, Zambo Ecozone by virtue of a Board Resolution delisted ALFRANZ as its locator.

Lobregat said since ALFRANZ did not proceed with its mining activity, the company applied for renewal of its mining permit in June 2015.

In the site inspection conducted in relation to its new mining application, it was discovered that the area it applied for in its original application was already devastated by quarrying operations.

Lobregat wondered “How can the previous administration be blamed when the destruction occurred during the present administration”? — Jubels Santos