Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Position Paper by PICD on the Quarry Operations in San Fabian

The paper presented by PICD during the multipartite meeting at the Mayor’s Office, 20 September 2011.

September 20, 2011

The past and recent calamities that had past our country especially the northern Luzon had lost properties and threatened the lives of people living in San Fabian especially the along Bued river at barangay Binday. These had caused a lot of restlessness and disillusionment among the people affected. They have seen how their houses together with their possessions were shattered apart as the furious waters came to demolish them. They’ve seen how their dreams and aspirations too for their families were lost for even their meager resources were gone with the running waters. This had caused stigma from their hearts. The wound was so deep that only time can tell when this wound would heal.

The Peoples Initiative on Christian Development of San Fabian (PICDSF) who stands for truth, justice and peace wants to overlay its recommendations and suggestion for an integral and comprehensive Bued River System.

  1. There is a need to formulate a more comprehensive development plan for the Bued River System. The comprehensive plan will put in-place all the necessary engineering works to be done, the right materials and equipments to be used, its proper implementation and monitoring by all stakeholders concerned. The technical plan will only be prepared after upon consultation with other technical attached agencies of the government and other stakeholders concerned. This should be guided by a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with implementing guidelines to be followed by all stakeholders for mutual cooperation and assistance.
  1. There is a need to restore and rehabilitate the integrity of the Bued River. The river is the source of life not just for man but also for other living organisms existing in the river. Now, the river is so much affected and damaged due to natural intrusion and by unprecedented abuse of man through illegal fishing and unsystematic and irresponsible quarrying operations done in the area. In view of this, the restoration can only be done and effective when all other man-made interventions and disturbances like illegal fishing and quarrying operations are stopped until the river system has fully recovered from its dying state.
  1. There are seen literal abuses of the quarrying operations in the area. There it seems that the terms and conditions on how quarrying operations should be done under the rules and regulations as stipulated in the mining act of 1994 was desecrated and violated. The scattered mounds of oversized materials at the former and recent quarry areas attest to this. The existence of potholes due to the extraction of materials is very visible. There were seen quarrying operations even at night just to meet the deadline of the contractors. There should be proper interventions to rectify the abuses mentioned above.
  1. Before the renewal of quarrying permits – there should be a clear and definitive mining work program to include quarry plan, quarry development and production, and environmental protection to be followed and implemented by all quarry operators. We should raise the level of awareness of the quarry operators that they should not only be interested with profiteering but also their social responsibility to protect the people and the environment.
  1. The river is God’s free gift to man. A gift that he makes to all human beings. The river belongs to man because God entrusted it to man, and by his work man subdues it and makes it yield fruit (cf. Gen. 1:28). It is God’s will that man should communicate with nature as an intelligent and noble master and guardian, a steward of creation, and not as a reckless exploiter. It is then our responsibility to take care of our river because once it is lost we can never regain it again.

Bro. Antonio J. Supremido, Jr., Secretary, Peoples’ Initiative for Christian Development of San Fabian.