14 September 2011 – San Fabian, Pangasinan. In the latest development concerning the people’s fight to prevent the further destruction along Bued River brought about by the massive, unregulated and unsystematic quarrying operations in San Fabian, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region I has ordered the “immediate suspension of sand and gravel quarrying operations in Barangay Anonang, San Fabian, Pangasinan.”
Report of the MGB Technical Personnel
The order for the suspension was based on the report from the technical personnel of DENR Mines and Geosciences Bureau submitted to the OIC, Regional Director of DENR, Mr. Carlos A. Tayag. The report was entitled “Ocular Inspection Report Relative to the Reported Riverbank Erosion at Barangay Binday, San Fabian, Pangasinan.”
In his letter to Rev. Fr. Oliver E. Mendoza, Parish Priest, Mr. Carlos A. Tayag informed the former of the suspension order. Attached in the same letter was a letter informing the quarry operators of the suspension order.
“Our technical personnel, who conducted an ocular inspection on September 6, 2011, found there is a looming danger to life and property along the eroding embankment of Barangay Binday. In view thereof, you are hereby ordered to immediately SUSPEND your operations”. The letter was addressed to Mr. Melchor Parayno, Mr. Marlon Eleria, Mr. Josefino de Guzman, Jr., Mr. Joegina Aspurias, permit holders.
Copies of the letter were given to Hon. Amado T. Espino, Jr., Governor of Pangasinan, Hon. Sec. Ramon C. Paje, DENR Secretary, Hon. Irene F Libunao, Mayor of San Fabian and Hon. Leo L. Jasareno, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director.
The technical team found a “sand bar with approximate measurement of about 1,000 meter long, an average width of around 100 meters and height of about 2 meters … (found) at the mid-portion of the river just lightly downstream of the dam’s cut-off wall east of the reported eroded river embankment at Barangay Binday. The said river feature is believed to have obstructed the flow of water coming from the dam and diverted the same toward the western side of the river scouring and causing erosion of the banks.”
Mound of oversize materials from the quarry areas
The report also mentioned that a “mound of oversize materials from screening/salandra activities were noted stocked on the mid-portion of the river channel along the active quarry areas which may obstruct water flow.”
The report mentioned that the “water turbulence from the large volume of floodwater and strong water current coupled by the presence of the sand bar resulted to the deflection of water to the western embankment of Abenoleng River downstream of Binday Dam causing the undercutting and scouring of the riverbank resulting to the erosion of considerable portions of the farmlands and residential area at Barangay Binday.”
A Looming Danger to Life and Property
The report admits the existence of a “looming danger to life and property along the eroding embankment at Barangay Binday since the conditon will be aggravated further once strong precipitation/flooding occurs.”
Suspension of Quarrying Operations
To arrest further erosion, the report recommended the “immediate suspension of sand and gravel quarrying operations at Barangay Anonang”.
During Typhoon Mina, five houses were washed away by the surging waters and about two hectares were lost, including the irrigation canals that supply water to several barangays. The concrete barangay road connecting from Barangay Binday to Barangay Anonang was cut.
Four other houses were abandoned near the river banks due to imminent danger of collapse.
The report also recommended that immediate dredging of the identified sandbar to the immediate downstream of the Binday Dam cut-off wall … to divert the flow of water at the center and deter erosion on the western river bank.
It further recommended that additional gabion dikes on the scoured area be installed.
It asked that the Memorandum of Agreement signed by sand and gravel permit holder and the LGU of San Fabian dated 24 November 2009 be reviewed and implemented as soon as possible to negate the imminent danger.
The report was signed by Amalia G Menzi, Senior Science Research Specialist, Jose D. Lignes Jr., Senior Geologist, Ruben G. Soriano, Engineer III, Edward M. Henry, Jr., OIC, Environment Section and Roel A. Collado, OIC, Mine Management Division.