By Emil G. Gamos
MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 7 (PNA)–An environment watchdog on Sunday dared giant cement factories operating in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan to show and prove that they are no longer using explosives in extracting limestones as experts have once again confirmed that their mining areas run along the West Valley fault line.
“There is a clear and present danger if they are still using dynamites or other ordnance in extracting limestone which is the primary ingredient in their cement business.
These cement companies, which are foreign-owned should prove that they will not be the trigger that will cause the faultline to move,” Bro. Martin Franscisco, chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society (SSMES), said.
Franscisco said that their group and even the office of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado are receiving reports that explosions are being heard in the mountains of Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad where cement factories are extracting limestones.
He dared the management of Holcim cement and La Farge, two of the biggest cement companies owned by foreign business firms, to allow a team, including members of the media, to prove that they are not using explosives in the extraction of limestones.
Franscisco said that the alleged explosions are being heard during the afternoon and people are getting anxious especially after learning that the mining sites of these cement factories run along the strtetch of the West Valley fault line and are also near the Angat dam and Ipo dam watershed areas.
He also disclosed that even the Dumagats tribesmen, a cultural minority group living in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan, have once again complained that they are afraid that the “gods” in the mountains might get angry because of the constant “tremors” allegedly caused by the blasting of limestones by giant cement factories in the areas.
Franscisco said that last year, some Dumagats guided them to places in the mountains where some sort of mini-sink holes have appeared.
“This is very disturbing because we do not know what will be its effect on the faultline,” he said.
Upon learning of this development, the governor urged cement factories to refrain from using explosives and instead use modern technologies in extracting limestones.
He said that it is quite ironic that while they are calling for the immediate rehabilitation of the aging Angat dam, those companies are blatantly daring the possible movement of the fault line through their blasting methods.
He also questioned the alleged rehabilitation program of cement factories in the areas.
‘Can they grow a mountain? They can grow a forest but not a mountain,” he said, adding that forest covers and the very mountain itself where it grows are being destroyed in the extraction of limestone.
The SSMES also said that the permit to extract limestone were issued by the national government to these cement companies. (PNA)