Guinobatan, Albay suspends quarrying ops following Rolly-triggered lahar flow

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 5) — The municipality of Guinobatan in Albay has suspended its quarrying operations following the lahar flow triggered by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly.

Governor Al Francis Bichara has issued Executive Order 32 temporarily suspending quarrying in the municipality, effective November 4, in line with the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte to ban such activities which could have triggered lahar flooding that led to the death of at least six residents when Rolly hit the province over the weekend.

Bichara told CNN Philippines that the suspension would only be applicable in Guinobatan and not the entire Albay province. He said there is a need to rebuild destroyed dwellings and facilities that requires construction materials aside from the demand of aggregates within Bicol region and other parts of the country which comes from Mayon Volcano.

The temporary suspension is also to give way to the investigation of a task force he created in the aftermath of the super typhoon, including the landslide incidents that perished communities in the municipality.

The task force is headed by the Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Bicol, the Albay Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the Department of Public Works and Highways - Bicol, and the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu previously directed the suspension of around 12 quarrying operators around Mayon Volcano, after an initial probe found that some of them left their stockpile in the middle of rivers which were washed down together with flood water and lahar that all flowed towards residential areas near the volcano.

Disaster officials previously reported that three people were missing in Guinobatan, where close to 200 houses were submerged under lahar. The province's Tabaco City, Camalig, and Sto. Domingo also reported lahar incidents due to the super typhoon.

Rolly, the Philippines' 18th tropical cyclone for 2020, left the country as a tropical storm on Monday.

CNN Philippines stringer Rosas Olarte contributed to this report.