BY Abner Bolos
Posted 6:39 p.m., Apr. 27, 2006
City of San Fernando—After almost a year of protest, workers in Hacienda Luisita have succeeded in pushing the government to declare as illegal quarrying operations for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project [SCTEP] inside the hacienda.
Officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform [DAR], Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR] and the provincial government of Tarlac reached a consensus in a dialogue with officers of the United Luisita Workers’ Union [ULWU] last April 26 that quarrying operations for the SCTEP in the hacienda is illegal and must be stopped.
“We expect the DENR to issue an order to stop the quarrying operations until Friday [April 28],” Teofilo Inocencio, DAR regional director for Central Luzon said during a multi-agency dialogue with ULWU held at the Fishermen’s Grill in San Fernando City on Wednesday.
Reynaldo Cruz, officer-in-charge of the licensing department, Bureau of Mines, DENR regional office said the department will immediately send a letter to the Hazama Corp. a contractor of the SCTEP, ordering the cessation of all illegal quarry operations in the hacienda.
In the dialogue, Alfredo Reyes, DAR Tarlac provincial agrarian reform officer presented a “special permit to extract” issued by Tarlac governor Jose V. Yap to a certain Rolando Tongco that covers only five  has. in barangay Asturias, Tarlac City .
The permit allows the holder to extract and haul some 50,000 cu. meters of sand from February 13 to May 12, 2006.
But ULWU has complained that more than 40 has. have been excavated for quarrying purposes covering not only barangay Asturias but also barangays Pasajes and Bantog . In Asturias alone, ten  has. are being used for quarrying operations exceeding the permit issued by Gov. Yap, according to ULWU officers.
Felix Nacpil Jr., ULWU board of directors member representing barangay Pasajes told GLNS that aside from the 10 has. in Asturias, about 21 has. in Pasajes and 17 has. in Bantog are being used for the quarrying operations without legal permit.
He said that last week, SCTEP contractors have also begun excavating in barangay Cut-cut II in spite of protest from union members.
He told GLNS that last April 17, when government officials conducted an ocular investigation at the hacienda, quarrying operations stopped but resumed the next day.
Confirming the illegality of the quarry operations, Rolando Cordova, representative of the Tarlac governor’s office said that Tongco, the holder of the special permit, has been fined two times and has paid a total P164,000 in penalties to the provincial government.
But Tongco may only be a dummy for Hazama Corp.
On November 17, 2005, Hazama Corp. signed a memorandum of agreement [MOA] with the Hacienda Luisita Inc. [HLI] for a quarrying contract inside the hacienda for the construction of the SCTEP over a period of one  year from November 18, 2005 to November 18, 2006.
Hazama Corp. is a partner of Hazama-Taisei-Nippon Steel Joint Venture [HTN-JV]. HTN-JV was awarded by the Base Conversion Development Authority [BCDA] the contract to construct the SCTEP Package 2, Clark-Tarlac section that passes through Hacienda Luisita.
Hazama Corp. is the buyer of the 300 has. portion of the 500 has. lot in the hacienda that was converted to non-agricultural use by HLI in 1996.
“HLI presented itself as the rightful owner of the land intended for quarrying operation [sic] within the Hacienda Luisita,” the MOA reads.
The agreement allows HTN-JV to excavate anywhere inside the hacienda and the excavated areas “shall be converted by HLI into a reservoir.”
The HLI is obligated to secure the environmental compliance certificate [ECC] for the quarrying operations from the DENR as well as all necessary permits, according to the MOA which was signed Emmanuel Cochico, HLI corporate secretary and Kunio Kimata, HTN-JV project manager.