• Negros probes fake quarry coupons

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    BACOLOD CITY: Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. on Thursday confirmed that the Provincial Legal Office is investigating a quarry operator allegedly using fake quarry coupons issued by the provincial government.

    “He was caught with many fake coupons in his possession. After the investigation, we will file charges against him in court,” Maranon said.

    Lawyer Wilmon Penalosa, provincial environment management officer, said the issuance of coupons is the jurisdiction of the Provincial Treasurer’s Office (PTO).

    Peñalosa, however, did not name the suspect, except saying he is from Kabankalan City, south of Bacolod.

    “We are monitoring his activities as his permit is suspended and being investigated,” he said.

    The provincial government got wind of the illegal practice about three weeks ago and coordinated with the PTO, which immediately issued a notice of violation to the perpetrator.

    A hearing was set and the quarry operator asked for time to answer the charges against him.

    Peñalosa said that based on the investigation of the PTO, the suspect printed “fake” transportation permits with the same serial numbers.

    “I don’t believe that it came from my office because it is the PTO that issues the coupons,” he added.

    Penalosa noted that the coupons are in four copies, “one each for the provincial government, the proponent, the barangay (villages) and another for the PTO.”

    After complying with the requirements, they are issued governor’s permit and pay the corresponding fees, he said.

    “There are over a 100 quarry operators who have been issued permits to extract and deliver sand and gravel by the capitol all over the province,” Penalosa said.

    For every violation of the Provincial Tax Ordinance, a P15,000 penalty is imposed; a second violation entails fine and possible suspension of the permit or a cease and desist order; and for the third violation, cancellation of the permit.

    Eugene Y. Adiong

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