THE HEAD of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced on Wednesday that he is suspending quarrying agreements at the Masungi Georeserve with three companies, which have been inactive for 18 years.  

These three entities have been non-operational since 2004. So far, they have no violations because they are not operational,DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said in a press briefing.  

The three firms are Quimson Limestone, Inc., Rapid City Realty and Development Corp., and Quarry Rock Group, Inc.  

Mr. Sampulna said he is issuing the suspension order on the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) despite being inactive to prevent any misapprehension.   

This issue has been enveloping our office and since then I have made some investigation. I am suspending the MPSAs and that area in Baras. To avert further speculation, I am having it suspended effective today. We will be sending the suspension order as soon as the meeting is over,he said.   

The Masungi Georeserve in Rizal province, located east of Metro Manila, is a conservation area and park. The reforestation project in the area is also positioned to protect the Upper Marikina Watershed, which is critical to protecting the capital region from flooding. 

In April, a group of civil society organizations, including environmental groups and academic institutions, appealed to the department to cancel all quarrying permits and stop illegal construction activities in the conservation area.   

The DENR is doing everything to protect and conserve the environment, all over the Philippines. I am also calling the support groups and environmentalists to be active in helping us,Mr. Sampulna said. Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson