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THE PROVINCIAL ask Force Naboc River (PTFNR) started on Monday, February 10, the padlocking of ballmills and carbon-in-pulp (CIP) plants at Mount Diwalwal in Barangay Mount Diwata, Monkayo.
According to the report from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office – Davao de Oro, around 130 ballmills and CIP plants were locked down as of Tueday, February 11.
DENR-PENRO head Chamberlain Babiera disclosed that there are around 290 mineral processing plants that are targeted to be padlocked on the weeklong movement.
Babiera emphasized that the padlocking is a part of the implementation of the cease and desist order (CDO) issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) last March 2019.
“This is also in accordance with the Naboc River Rehabilitation Program, since we cannot start the cleaning of the river if there are still plants in Diwalwal that will operate and spill chemicals to the river,” he said.
Since 2017, the National Task Force Diwalwal – Program Monitoring and Coordination Committee (NTFD-PMCC) have been wooing the plant owners to transfer to the Mabatas Mineral Processing Zone to contain their wastes in its tailing pond and no longer contaminate the river.
However, due to lack of facilities like roads, electricity, and water system, the government has still allowed then the operation of plants in Diwalwal.
It was only on the last quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019 that facilities were established and operationalized.
During that time, Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy and Monkayo Mayor Ramil Gentugaya offered the vehicles of the provincial and municipal government to help the plant owners in hauling their facilities from Diwalwal to Mabatas.
Now, according to PENRO-Davao de Oro chief, more than 100 owners have transferred their plants at the mineral processing zone.
Also, to update the Diwalwal residents on the programs and plans of the government, several meetings, fora, and conference were conducted like the Diwalwal Mineral Reservation Area (DMRA) Information Summit in August 2018, which was participated by more than 500 residents.
Babiera said that the government did not lack in informing the residents on the programs and actions of the government including the implementation of the CDO.
“We have reached out to them. We have given them years already. It is now time for us to enforce the law.”