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(Surigao del Norte)

ANAO-AON RIVER, Barangay October 2015 Report and updates.

This report is based on the complaint and petition to immediately enjoin the SAG permitees
from extracting sand, boulders and gravel at Anao-aon River. According to the complaint,
the river has been affected by the alarming rate of over-exaction of river sand, boulders and
gravel which is damaging to the ecosystem. Increased rates of river erosion or deposition
and other channel changes occur due to human and artificial induced changes. The
changes include the width of the river, slumped/exposed banks, and channel realignment
as a result of unwarranted quarrying practices by some SAG permittees. If the LGUs and
other agencies will not take action, it will cause serious repercussions in the future.
Since 2010, there has been increasing awareness and concern about the declining
condition. The Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte has recognized the importance of
managing the resources of the river and minimizing the detrimental effects to the
environment. In fact, the LGU- Province had already issued two executive orders one for
suspension and other for rehabilitation in order to ensure that the riverine resources can
continue to support appropriate economic, social and environment uses.

(Left: Surigao builders quarry area shows where sand and gravel are trapped in the excavated pool. Right: Lyndon
Pinat Construction also used the same scheme; it interrupts the continuity of mass sediments to other SAG
permittees downstream. Brgys. Macopa, San Francisco and Danao, Surigao City October 9, 2015)

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On October 2015, a composite team from the Province thru the PEMO and PEO, MGB and
the DENR-EMB went to Brgy. Ipil and Danao, Surigao City and Brgy. Macopa and Honrado
to verify the complaint of alleged unsystematic quarrying and over extraction of river
resources by some SAG permitees. The team also inspected the irrigation dam which
remains to be one of the subjects of the complaint.
During the river assessment and ocular inspection, the composite team comes out with the
following findings, to wit:
1. Evidence of channel enlargement in some areas as a result of over-extraction had
exacerbated the problem. For instance, Surigao Builders had excavated the area beyond the
minimum depth that resulted to the creation of artificial pool. This pool interrupts the
continuity of the sediments mass balance and bed load sediment supply. Thus, it can no
longer transport through a considerable distance downstream of the river.
2. There are sections in the river where extraction should be phased out and where
rehabilitation of damaged sites is urgently required (e.g the quarry areas in the downstream
of Datun irrigation dam)
3. However, there are also sections where extraction should be done to allow river flow and
water transport without obstruction. (eg. The islet in Sanchez area which continue to
obstruct the flow of water during rainy season has not yet been removed)
4. The irrigation dam has already been backfilled with quarry materials to support the
foundation of the structure.
(Update as of January 11, 2016, the irrigation dam had gradually started to hang again
leaving the quarry materials free to move on.
5. The design of the irrigation dams canal is not sufficient to hold the water high enough
to turn into the farm supply ditch. The head or controlled gate (made of bamboo) is also
not capable to handle a large flow of water and divert the desired amount of water to the
ditches. According to Engr. Ador Patinio, lack of water supply which is believed to be the
root cause of SAG operation is not true.
Lack of technical people who would closely monitor and regularly report the condition
of the river. The J.0 employees who were assigned do not possess the required technical
skills and knowledge. It is difficult to confront some permitees who are engineers by
profession and have been in a quarry business for a long time.
7. Continue issuance of DRs until it reaches the maximum per cubic allowed by the ECC
without considering the capacity of the river resources.
It has been a practice to
accommodate projects even though the river deposits can no longer withstand and sustain.

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8. Behemoth stockpile of SAG materials are observed and can be seen at the top of the
river banks. This is presumed to be the result of excessive removal of quarry materials
without giving the river a chance to replenish.
9. As of January 2016, the number of SAG applicants and permitees had increased from
24 in 2013 to 35 in 2015. The EMB continue to accommodate new applicants without
inspecting, reporting and knowing the condition of the river.

(Left: Datun Dam at Brgy Danao, Surigao City. The Dam had already been covered and backfilled with SAG
materials to help stabilize the structure. Right: Engr. Ador Patinio of the MGB examined the drainage canal and
the head or controlled gate of the dam. October 9, 2015)

The rapid development and booming economy in Surigao del Norte have led to increase
demand for quarry materials as a source of construction materials. However, this shortterm benefits must be weighed in and balanced against the resulting effects of resource
depletion of river sand and gravel and the increasing demands from the community. The
composite team gives recommendation to enable the LGU and the community to evaluate
the long-term effect of quarrying industries both upstream and downstream of SAG
extraction sites in Anao-aon River. To address the impacts of the quarrying industry, the
following measures are suggested, to wit:
1. While it is true that there are unsystematic quarrying practices, however, it does not
favor a total stoppage of the quarry operation because it will cause more disastrous, costly
and widespread damages in the future. (As suggested by Engr. Elmer C. Tecson of the City
ENRO and Concurred by Engr. Ador Patinio of the MGB)

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2. The Provincial Engineering Office of Surigao del Norte should first identify the SAG
deposits where extraction would not have significant detrimental effect to the physical
stability of the river;
3. The former should also conduct river profiling and survey to the up and downstream of
the river. This will likewise form an inventory of the SAG resources and allow comparisons
over time. Moreover, a data should be plotted to illustrate the vertical extent/elevation of
the proposed excavation, and a planimetric map showing the aerial extent of the excavation
and the extent of the riparian buffers;
4. Notify the concessioners and the LGU-impact barangays whose quarry areas are no
longer visible for quarry. This will give the former enough time to seek new locations.
5. The possibility of one concessioner either from the LGU-Province, or a sand-mining
operator who had a technical acumen and had sufficient earth -moving equipment, to
manage the entire river system. This will ensure that the sand and gravel operation is
carried out in a sustainable way and focus only in suitable locations to lessen aggradation
problem. From SAG operators, they will become significant buyers to the former who will
just provide them with SAG supply; (Suggested by Engr. Elmer C. Tecson of the City ENRO)
6. Extracted aggregates and sediments from sand washing machines should not be
washed directly in the stream or river or within the riparian zone.
7. Establish a long-term monitoring program and create the Multi-Monitoring Team
(MMT). This will be an important tool in influencing management of the quarry industry. It
provides a greater awareness of the river degradation problems and of the effectiveness of
management strategies. Further, it is essential that the LGU, community and other agencies
must be involved in a process and to have multiple views to be considered. Furthermore,
MMT is seen as an effective way of creating a link between the community and the LGU;
***Participatory monitoring is primarily aimed at determining whether the project proponent is
complying with the terms and conditions of the Environmental Compliance Certificates. At the
same time, participatory monitoring is directed towards establishing the actual environmental
impacts of the project. And upon comparison with the predicted impacts reported, it provides a
quality measure indicating areas for improvement of the Environmental Impact Assessment
conducted for similar projects or areas.
8. While waiting for the report of the EMB, the SAG concessioners can use their stockpile
materials in order not hamper their business operation. However, the LGU-Province shall
inform the concern LGU- Barangay. This will gradually replenish the quantity and volume
taken in the river.
(As of January 2016, the EMB had not yet furnished a copy of their report whether or not there
have been violations incurred.)
9. Impose severe penalties, suspension for consecutive violations, and execute Cease and
Desist Order (CDO). This will ensure that SAG permitees will adhere to the guidelines and

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standards set in the Provincial Environment Code. Failure to adhere would therefore deny
their renewal of SAG permit.
(As of January 2016, the PEMO had informed the SAG Permitees that the former may no
longer grant extension of unused Delivery Receipts (DRs) effective January 15, 2016.
However, it is also reported that some LGU-Barangay had allowed some permittee to haul and
transport SAG materials pending the renewal of their permit. The barangay checker would
make a listing of number of trips and record the same, while the latter would just surrender
their DRs and compensate the LGU-Barangay upon the approval of their permit. Moreover,
some LGU-Baragay would just collect P100.00 to P200.00 per trip. The connivance between
the SAG permitee and LGU-Barangay had been a practice for a long time.


June 7, 2015 Report and updates.

On June 3, 2015, the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte received a letter from the
office of DPWH requesting Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte, to refrain the SAG
permittee of Gigaquit and Claver from quarrying within the one (1) kilometer prohibited zone
from Daywan Bridge. The latter disclosed that the old structure has been damaged and
became unsafe for vehicles and commuters passing to and fro. The presence of illegal
hauling activity had threatened not only the structural structure of the bridge, but also the
value of the agricultural lands near the river.

On June 2015, an ocular inspection was conducted by PEMO enforcers, and came out with
the following observations and findings:

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1. That a sub- concrete barrier and gabion protector which have been constructed beneath
the bridge by DPWH has been hit and destroyed by logs carried by the strong current from
the upstream of the river.
2. That there is no boundary marker to determine the one (1) kilometer distance or
prominent marks installed within the extraction zone. As a consequence, both the legal and
illegal haulers were able to extract SAG resources in the prohibited zone.
3. That AYL Construction was able to extract sand and gravel even without the approval
from the LGU of San Isidro, Municipality of Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte. This is because the
formers ECC is situated at Brgy. Daywan, Municipality of Claver, Surigao del Norte and
thus secure a valid permit from the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte.
4. That due to the imbalance activity in the river, the accumulated deposit of earth, sand
and gravel in Barangay San Isidro resulted to siltation in the streambed and caused
obstruction of the water channel of the river.
5. That the continued use of backhoes had caused substantial damage on river banks and
disturbed the residents during operations.
6. That no river assessment has been conducted since 2010 and the illegal small-scale
haulers continue to deprive the Province of its income and wealth.

While quarry industry provides a vital importance for the development, and plays an
important role to the booming economy of Surigao del Norte. However, it has become
apparent that the improper and unwarranted quarrying practices by some SAG
concessioners go beyond what is contemplated in their permit. It continued to exploit the
natural environment for short term gain with little consideration of the future.

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The law on river protection is undermined as long as some politicians continue to dictate
what is lawful and what is not. Without imposing a severe penalty we could not have a
sustainable and valuable industry, including a long term and prosperous future.

1. There is a need to establish and install boundary marker (Muhon) within the
conspicuous area one (1) kilometer from the bridge structure.
2. The Provincial Engineering Office of Surigao del Norte who had the technical capability
can provide assistance for river assessment and profiling.
3. The SAG permit holders are likewise required to install prominent markers within their
quarry areas for area identification and monitoring purposes.
4. Further, the PMRB should review and request for an amendment of their ECCs to the
EMB so that protection would cover both river banks of Gigaquit and Claver.
5. Finally, the creation of Pala-pala cooperative for small-scale haulers and legalize their
operation in Gigaquit and Claver, Surigao del Norte.

Prepared by


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