The Philippines’ Environment department suspended quarrying activities around Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay after at least 300 houses were buried in mud and rocks that reportedly came from quarries at the foot of the volcano.
“I directed the suspension of all these 11 or 12 (quarry) operators, including suspending quarrying operations around the volcano while there are still typhoons coming,” said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
He said stockpiles left in the middle of rivers were carried by the water current during the typhoon and flowed to villages downstream.
Cimatu said President Rodrigo Duterte has already ordered an investigation into the quarrying activities around the volcano, adding that the agency will shut down the operations if it is proven that the quarries caused the landslide.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said he will also “personally look into the quarrying” activities in the region.
Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi earlier urged the government to conduct proper investigations into the alleged quarrying activities.
“We cannot stop mother nature, but we can lessen the destruction and deaths if we are going to be more responsible with the way we deal with things,” he said.
The prelate expressed gratitude for the government’s “immediate response” to his call.
“When calamities come, as they always do, we just have to prepare and sit it through it until it’s over, then we come back, rebuild, and move on,” the bishop told LICAS.news.
He assured the faithful that the Church will always reach out to those who are most affected, especially the poor, during times of disasters.