Review of quarry permits mulled after massive flooding in Negros Occidental

BACOLOD CITY - In an effort to find a solution to the massive flooding in Negros Occidental, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is eyeing to conduct a review of all quarry permits in the province.

Lacson made the statement, following two massive floods caused by torrential rains that hit the northern part of the province on January 1, and January 8.

The massive flooding forced thousands of residents in the cities of Talisay, Silay, Victorias, Sagay, Cadiz, and the town of E.B. Magalona, to evacuate from low-lying areas to the higher grounds.

#NegrosNeedsHelp trended on Twitter over the weekend as netizens appealed for help for the flood-affected Negrenses.

Lacson said it was observed that there was the movement of water has been restricted because many areas are now made with concrete and impermeable materials.

Lacson said they can see progress in the province with the construction of more hotels, condominiums and public works such as roads. 

However, with the construction boom in the province and Bacolod City, there has also been an increase in quarrying for sand and gravel, the governor added.

"There should be no conflict between economic growth and protection of the environment," he said.

Lacson said the review will be in coordination with all concerned local government units to determine if this contributed to the flooding.

Lacson said there was also a need for serious maintenance work on waterways to mitigate flooding.

Meanwhile, Lacson has urged local government units (LGUs), particularly in the third district, to have their own dredger, especially those prone to heavy flooding during the rainy season, to address similar incident.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has launched its Maintenance Dredging Program in Victorias City last week, as an immediate solution to declog waterways. 

Lacson said that dredging must be a continuing operation to revive the natural waterways.

The said dredging project started at Carugiat River to Malihaw and Magnanod Rivers.

Lacson also appealed to Negrenses to follow proper waste disposal, otherwise, flooding will happen again.

For his part, Third District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez said that with the occurrence of the incident, the people should be mindful of the environment so that it will not increase the risk of damage in properties and worse casualties.