Sandstorm brewing

    WHAT HATH Ordinance 362 wrought!

    A total mess in the quarry industry, that’s what. And where there’s a mess, there opens something for exploitation by the sly and the wily.

    Ordinance 362 repealed Ordinance 261, the local law regulating the hauling and transport of quarry materials in Pampanga. The nullity of such a “perfect law” as the latter, constrained by the imperfections impacted in its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), notably the “cutting” of trucks to prevent them from overloading. Crafted by a task force created by the governor, the IRR were never intentioned in the ordinance, the sangguniang panlalawigan declared. 

    The IRR destroyed the spirit of Ordinance 261, so holds Vice Gov. Yeng Guiao. Hence, the imperative of its termination. With extreme prejudice, if the governor were to be believed. 

    Gov. Eddie T. Panlilio’s immediate reaction to Ordinance 362 was to bask in his legal breathing space of 15 days to act on it, declaring to all and sundry that he would veto it. But not immediately. As of this writing, he still has 14 days to do so.

    And, in the interim, Panlilio declared Ordinance 261 as still very much in effect. No matter Guiao’s protestations that the repealing Ordinance 362 is immediately implementable, if only for its passage at the SP by an overwhelming 10-1 vote.

    With that, chaos ruled the quarry industry.

    Wednesday afternoon, at the Upper Porac quarry checkpoint, the Balas checkers let through an “evidently uncut” trailer truck (RJF-474). Three “uncut” others were also given easy passage.

    So why were they allowed through despite their obvious violations of the Ordinance 261 IRR? Monitoring members of the Federation of Pampanga Truckers Inc. (FPTI) led by interim president Benedicto Lacsamana demanded from the quarry checkers.   

    One Joselito Reyes, the Balas supervisor in the checkpoint, was quoted thus: “We don’t know anything about that. All that was told us was to let through those who have hauling passes and stickers. We don’t know about the cutting. Don’t blame us.”

    Media reports quoted the truck driver, one Rick Pingul, to have said they were loaded by the quarry operator with the right volume, pointing to a short red line on the trailer’s front end siding.

    So, “even if the truck was not cut, the mark is being followed to determine the load.” So Pingul reportedly said.

    To the FPTI monitors though, it mattered much that the owner of truck RJF 474 was reportedly one “Manman,” allegedly a very close associate of the “other” FPTI president Mike Tapang, declared by the Lacsamana faction as the third spoke in the Panlilio-Dabu-Tapang axis bedeviling the quarry trucking industry.

    The drivers of the three other trucks reportedly disclosed that “it was upon the instance of environment and natural resources (Enro) officials that the trucks just be marked without necessarily cutting the sidings anymore.”

    The IRR damned by the very people that made them! What say now Panlilio, Dabu, and Tapang of this?

    And there is more.

    Truckers belonging to the Lacsamana faction of the FPTI complain of being refused loading at the quarry sites, “even with our hauling passes and stickers.”

    “My hauling pass was confiscated for some trumped-up violation soon as I stopped my truck at a quarry site,” complained one.    

    “Tapang is flexing his muscles here as president of the Pampanga quarry operators,” said another.

    But isn’t it bad business for quarry operators to refuse loading trucks? That is loss of sure income.

    “A small loss of income much preferred over the loss of their quarry permits, which at any moment can be revoked for one cause or the other by Panlilio and Dabu. Upon the recommendation of Tapang, of course.” So the trucker claimed. “We are being pushed against the wall. Our survival is already threatened. Our options are running out.”

    A storm brews over the sands of Mancatian. Gathering strength day by day with the stalemate at the Capitol over the two ordinances unresolved.

    A bloody mess we pray not to happen. 


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