Rough Cuts | What’s the status of new quarry applications?

What is the present status of the applications for quarry operations that were earlier turned down by the City Council?

We are raising this question because the reason given by those Council members who succeeded in withholding approval of the applications is that the applicants have yet to submit important requirements demanded by the local government.

In addition, the councilors believe that there has to be a thorough evaluation of the applications for quarry operations as recklessly approving the same could result to the aggravation of the city’s environmental degradation.

We strongly agree with that position of the council members. At the rate the environment of Davao City is being degraded it is unthinkable to allow more people to destroy the contours of the city’s rivers and mountains.

Nevertheless, we cannot take away from some people, especially those who are applying for quarry sites, the suspicion that the existing big-time quarry operators in the city may have waved their “magic wands” to influence, one way or another, the action of the Council on the whole.

It is public knowledge that these days the business of supplying aggregates is on its strongest boom. This is because of the Duterte administration’s “Build, build, build” program which includes infrastructure projects all over the country. These projects entail cost by the billions of pesos and many of them are targeted for completion within the term of the incumbent President.

Davao City’s share of this “Build, build, build” is substantial. Among these infrastructure projects are the ongoing construction of the city’s first coastal highway, relief roads/bridges building and expansion, and hopefully, the putting up of the long-dreamed Davao-Samal bridge.

All these require aggregates such as sand and gravel, mountain mix, stone boulders and the likes. Hence, demand for these construction materials could keep increasing perhaps for the remaining years of the Duterte administration and early on to the next regime.

The common suspicion therefore, is that Davao’s existing quarry operators will do their best — or even “worst” — to prevent other new entities to get a share of the business that they are now feasting on.

But even if there is legitimacy of this manifest suspicion our take is that the impact of initially denying the applications for quarry operations is, on the whole, beneficial to the local government and to the people of Davao. Why, because, as we said earlier, it will give the city opportunity to craft ordinances and subsequently come up with programs that would mitigate the degradation of the environment.

Isn’t it that quarrying in the city’s mountains and riverbanks is the most extractive industry that can be undertaken with the most minimal cost? But this is also one of the most destructive to the environment because it increases to the maximum the pace of soil erosion in the city’s mountains, rapid siltation of the city’s rivers, and eventually increases the vulnerability of the city’s plains to flooding.

It is in the light of these realities that the people of Davao are hoping their representatives in the local legislative body would be able to discern and come up with a win-win policy when they are called anew to render a decision on the quarry operations applications.

That is, they have to consider first and foremost, the doctrine of “the good for the greater number.”

Our congratulations to the University of Mindanao Chorale that bagged gold in the first Tokyo International Choir Competition in the Chamber and Mixed Choir Categories. The event was conducted last July 28-29, 2018 at the Dai-ichi Seimei Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

As columnist of Mindanao Times, one of Davao City’s daily newspapers that is part of the UM family, we cannot help but be proud of the UM Chorale achievement. Imagine besting 59 other choirs from all over the world! That’s more than just simple feat. Of course the choir’s achievement could not have been possible if the support of the University administration was wanting. Knowing UM President Dr. Guillermo “Willy” Torres, who would think an achiever of a Choir that the UM Chorale is, would lack such support?

Again, Congratulations, and more international competitions to participate and gold medals to bring home!

Posted in Opinion