THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ordered the cancellation of three mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) held by quarry operators in the Upper Marikina watershed towns of Baras and Tanay, Rizal province.
In separate orders dated Dec. 19, and made public this week, Environment Undersecretary Juan Miguel T. Cuna signed the orders revoking the MPSAs of Rapid City Realty and Development Corp., Quarry Rock Group, Inc. and Quimson Limestone, Inc.
MPSAs give concession holders exclusive rights to mine a defined area.
The revoked MPSAs cover 1,343 hectares within the barangays of Pinugay, Baras; and Cuyambay and Tandang Kutyo, Tanay.
Rapid City was found to have failed to file for an extension of its exploration period, which had lapsed for more than 22 years. It also failed to submit the corresponding work program as required by the MPSA.
Meanwhile, both Quarry Rock and Quimson were ruled to have violated their MPSAs by conducting non-quarrying operations; failing to submit and secure approval of development work programs; and failuring to establish mine rehabilitation funds.
In a statement on Thursday, Upper Marikina Watershed Coalition said it obtained the copies of the orders it requested last month.
“After three years of campaigning, we look forward to seeing these cancellations enforced and reflected on the ground,” the coalition said in a statement on Thursday.
The coalition brings together over 60 groups seeking to protect the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL).
“Once more, we call on the DENR Secretary to directly dialogue with the Masungi Georeserve Foundation to settle mutual concerns on its joint reforestation project, which is located in the UMRBPL,” the coalition said.
The Marikina Watershed is a 26,126-hectare basin, which was declared a protected area in 2018 for the ecosystem services it provides, such as protection from floods and landslides. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera