3 Leyte mayors claim EO 17-A unconstitutional
TACLOBAN CITY – Leyte Rep.Richard Gomez dismissed the claims that an executive order he issued when he was the mayor of Ormoc City was contrary to the order of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to cancel the ‘pass through’ fee collection by local governments.
He also insisted that Executive Order 17-A he issued on February 27, 2020 did not impose any fee for vehicles transporting goods using the national roads within the city of Ormoc.
“EO 17-A only prohibited the exportation of sand and gravel materials from Ormoc City,” the Leyte solon said in a statement.
According to him, he issued the order on the basis of a report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of ‘rampant illegal extraction and transport of sand and gravel materials and quarry materials’ in the district.
“So EO17-A was issued to address the urgent concerns in the DENR report, in the exercise of the authority by the city government to enforce measures for environmental protection, ecological balance, and environmental recovery…,” Gomez said.
“I did what was best for the people and the environment and I suggest other municipal mayors to do the same as well and respect the policies of mayors from other areas and observe their own jurisdictions,” he added.
To recall, Ramon Oñate of Palompon, Edgardo Cordeño of Isabel, and Bernardino Tacoy of Matag-ob claimed that Executive Order 17-A issued by Gomez is contrary to Executive Order 41 issued by Pres. Marcos.
They have sought the assistance of Interior Sec. Benhur Abalos for this local order be lifted.
The mayors claimed that EO 17-A is still being implemented by Mayor Lucy Torres Gomez.
On September 25, the President issued EO 41 directing all local government units to lift the ‘pass through’ fees to help lower the cost of goods and also help revive the local industries under the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.
The mayors claimed that EO 17-A has affected the flow of sand and gravel materials in the third district of Leyte as it resulted in the increase in prices of aggregates, in particular.
The mayors said that from the previous P900 per cubic meter, it now surged to P1,600 to P1,700 per cubic due to the additional cost of transporting it to their areas because vehicles that are transporting these materials have to pass to other municipalities to avoid crossing to Ormoc where their product will be confiscated as ordered under EO 17-A, they said.
“This EO 17-A is even more restrictive if not unconstitutional considering that it did not only impose fees upon entering the national highway of Ormoc City but it prohibits any sand and gravel business to pass through Ormoc City coming from other towns,” they said in their October 1 letter to Sec. Abalos.
The mayors, who are political allies of Rep. Gomez, hope that the DILG will intervene by ordering the city government of Ormoc to enforce the President’s EO 41 immediately.
JOEY A. GABIETA