Tarlac City – – They are thieves stealing soil and robbing the local government of taxes.
Thus, said protesters of an illegal quarry operations who were discovered “ravaging” a land in Barangay Sapang Tagalog yesterday.
Pablo Borbon, owner of the lot being quarried, aired his protest on the more than 50 ten-wheeler trucks and 2 buck hoes hauling soil from his property.
“The heavy equipment are ravaging my land, I did not give my permission to them and I do not know this people”, said Borbon.
More than 5 hectares of Borbon’s land was already excavated “uncontrollably” .
Local resident Jose Magbilang said, “hindi lang lupa ang ninanakaw ng mga illegal quarry operators, ninanakawan din nila ng taxes ang gobyerno”.
Under the local government code, or Republic Act 7160, from the quarry tax paid by quarry permitees, 40% goes to the barangay, 30% to the municipality or cities and 30% to the provincial government which issues the quarry permits.
Sought for comment, Gov. Susan Yap-Sulit said, “I am strongly against illegal quarrying, wala akong alam sa illegal quarry na ‘yan. We will act on the complaint of the land owner (Borbon) as soon as it is submitted to us”.
The truck drivers hauling soil from Borbon’s lot have no provincial government-issued Delivery Receipt and cannot show a quarry permit.
In an interview, Barangay Murcia, Concepcion town, Barangay Chairman Agustin Cruz admitted leading the quarry operations but denied it was illegal since, he said, they have “clearance”.
However, a check with the provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) showed Cruz has no record of quarry permit.
Cruz also revealed they have already hauled more than 300 truckloads since Monday (Nov. 27).
But this was denied by Borbon who said, “they should have hauled at least 1,500 truckloads at 6 trips per day per truck for 5 days”.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that Cruz was suspended by Mayor Andy Lacson for 6 months following a Sangguniang Bayan investigation that he (Cruz) tested positive of using drugs (shabu).