Sunday, October 23, 2005


Rep. Defensor tells Malones: Rock crusher must go

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MAYOR Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo has more to lose than gain if he refuses to evict the rock crusher plant in his municipality.
This was the stern warning of third district Rep. Arthur Defensor to Malones after the latter showed resistance to the former’s desire to relocate the rock crusher facility nearer the international airport project in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara area.
Defensor said Malones has “to choose between the revenues his town gets from the rock crusher or the convenience and safety of his people.”
Defensor sought to pull out the rock crusher from Maasin to either Cabatuan or Sta. Barbara to minimize and reroute the traffic of heavy-duty trucks passing through Marcos bridge in Barangay Amerang, Cabatuan.
The facility is said to be owned by the Montesclaros family from Bukidnon, the in-laws of Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas and son of Gov. Niel Tupas Sr.
“He (Malones) will have to weigh his options between the safety of his townspeople or the money from the rock crusher. He will not only suffer from bad roads but also the complaints of his own constituents,” Defensor said.
Defensor reiterated his threat on Thursday that he will not shell out a centavo of his pork barrel if Malones defies him.
“It’s up to him if he defies me. If he does not my instructions despite my explanations, I will no repair the bad roads of his town because that rock crusher is the root of our woes. If he wants to make his people suffer in exchange of the revenues from the rock crusher, so be it. Anyway, he will be blamed by his own constituents. I already told them of the consequences,” Defensor warned.
Defensor said the roads in Maasin were in good condition prior to the operation of the facility. “But after it began operating, the roads in Malones’ have deteriorated to the detriment of the commuters and motorists. We fear that the Marcos Bridge will further weaken if it continues to operate.”
Defensor on Thursday also told the Sangguniang Bayan of Maasin to pass a resolution urging Malones to revoke the business permit of Montesclaros’ facility.
He also told the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to inspect the plant and make a report on its environmental effects.
In the event that he refuses to repair the roads of Maasin, Defensor said the town will have to use its maintenance and other operating expenses fund “which is not enough even for asphalt overlay.”
Yesterday, Malones met with SB members to discuss the conditions set by Defensor.
Malones said the council has referred the matter to the committee on infrastructure chaired by SB member Jesse Miado.
The mayor said he is torn between their desire to solve their road problems and the revenues from the plant.
“But we hope to reach a solution that is beneficial to all,” Malones said.
The Tupas camp, however, was mum on the issue. “No comment,” was the reply of one of the governor’s aides.
Defensor denied that politics is behind his dogged desire to pull out Montesclaros’ rock crusher plant.
“I’m not running for governor, why should politics rear its head in this issue? In fact, I did not mind the existence of that plant until this problem came about. I did not expect that it will cause much hassle. But the town officials abused the situation and failed to regulate the load and frequency of trucks transporting crushed rock from the plant to the airport site. There is no politics here. I have no vested interest in this since I am not engaged in the quarry business nor do I own a rock crushing plant,” Defensor said.


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