Baac orders crackdown on illegal quarrying

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TABUK CITY, KALINGA – Following reports of illegal quarry sites, quarry extractors operating without permits, and contractors not paying their quarry taxes and fees, Governor Jocel Baac signed Executive Order No. 15 creating a task force to monitor, inspect, and investigate all quarry activities in the province.

Chaired by Environment and Natural Resources Officer (ENRO) Jude Sugguiyao and co-chaired by PSSUPT David Kang-OwanPeredo Jr., the task force is mandated to monitor and inspect all quarry sites to ensure that permitted extractors are complying with local laws, shut down and investigate all alleged unauthorized/illegal quarry activities of certain individuals and construction firms, and to confiscate and seize illegally extracted quarry materials and apprehend vehicles and related equipment used to transport it.

Ahead of the executive order, Baac issued Memorandum Order No. 93 directing the police and the ENRO to stop the ongoing construction of flood control projects at barangays Taga, Ammacian, and Wagud in Pinukpuk due to contractors’ “continuous violation Revenue Code of the Province of Kalinga specifically Sec 2G.18.”

Section 2G.02 of the provincial revenue code imposes a tax of twenty five pesos per cubic meter of sand, gravel, and other mineral resources extracted from public and private lands or from beds of lakes, rivers, and other public waters within the territorial jurisdiction of the province – to be paid directly to the provincial treasury office.

The order also directs police and ENRO officials to confiscate and seize illegally extracted quarry products and other minerals as well as the conveyances used such as dump trucks and other related equipment, as authorized under section Section 2G.18 of the provincial revenue code. This is in light of the failure of contractors to settle their obligations with the Provincial Government of Kalinga amounting to P4, 745, 165.50.

Memorandum Order No. 93 will remain in full force and effect until contractors settle their sand and gravel tax obligations with the provincial government. The order states that in order to safeguard the interest of the provincial government of Kalinga, necessary charges shall be filed against contractors at the proper courts upon failure to settle their obligations.

Executive Order No. 15 and Memorandum Order No. 93 comes a week after Baac ordered law enforcers and environment officials to temporarily stop the hauling of boulders and other mineral resources out of Kalinga. Baac issued his directive to allow the conduct of the required inventory of the available quarry and mineral resources in the different parts of Kalinga.

By Iryll Sicnao

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