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Angono mayor wants quarry operations to end

By Neil Alcober
February 15, 2020

Angono, Rizal Mayor Jeri Mae Calderon


ANGONO, RIZAL - If she had her way, she would no longer allow companies to continue their mining and quarrying operations in her town.

This was according to Angono, Rizal Mayor Jeri Mae Calderon, who boldly said she will move heaven and earth to prevent mining companies from further destroying their mountains and rivers.

Calderon, the town’s first female and youngest mayor, said she will stick by her decision not to allow mining firms to continue their operations even if they contribute big revenue to the local government.

“My stand on quarries will not change. I will endure losing that big amount so long as mining leaves our place,” the 29-year-old daughter of former mayor and now Vice Mayor Gerry Calderon said in an interview.

However, she admitted not knowing the exact amount of money that goes to the local government from the mining industry.

“The permission to mine doesn’t come from the local government, but from the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources). But if they will ask for my recommendation, it will be a negative from me,” she added.

Calderon said Lafarge Aggregates and Concrete Aggregates Corporation only have until 2021 to operate their quarries in her town.

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Located on 212-hectares of land covering the Barangays of San Roque and San Isidro, mining operation have been in operation since 1969.

“We will no longer allow them. They can start on a rehab of the area. They have not committed any violations, but I personally think it’s enough,” she explained.

“The water at Wawa River has turned brown because that’s where the sediment goes during the rainy season. I want mining to stop, so that I can see again our mountains in good condition,” she added.

Asked what will she do with workers who will be displaced if mining operations will be stopped, she replied, “They have a big company. Maybe they can be absorbed to do other work.”

She said 60 percent of the workers in the mining firms are from Angono.

Though she will be going against giant companies, the neophyte local chief executive said she is not being pressured and wouldn’t be threatened as she vowed to permanently stop mining operations in her town.

The town’s quarry operations were issued with two Mining Production Sharing Agreements, which was signed by the DENR Secretary on 15 June 1995 and 23 October 1996. These are valid only for 25 years, with their terms lapsing this year and in 2021.

From 2001 to 2019, then mayor Gerry Calderon consistently expressed his opposition for the renewal of quarry permits.

In response, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau sent a letter to the mayor indicating the financial assistance for people affected by the quarry.

Data from the local government showed residents of Barangay San Isidro, who live within the 1,500-meter radius from the quarry, mostly have lung problems. (Tribune)

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