Public Works urged to help in Kabuyao mess

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) wants the Department of Public Works and Highways to do mitigating measures in Sto. Tomas.

After the ocular by the EMB with Baguio City Representative Nicasio Aliping, it was noted there were several factors that caused pollution in Kabuyao.

One of them is the Baguio-Sto. Tomas road widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) currently handled by the Benguet 1st Engineering District Office.

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OIC-Regional Director Cabanayan told Sun.Star Baguio deposits were found dumped along the site of the road development.

These deposits were noted as contributing factors to the pollution of water sources in Amliang, most especially the Amliang creek, which is tributary to Bued River.

Aside from the Amliang creek, Cabanayan said there is also a threat of pollution to the Nangalisan River, which is also near the area.

According to the regional director, although the widening is still within the Environmentally Critical Area, it is exempted to the application of an ECC because it is already an existing road system.

However, he revealed the project does not have a Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) and an application was only submitted July 18.

Cabanayan explained the project should have a CNC or a Certificate of Exemption to establish the project is exempted from the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

The application for CNC instead of an ECC is pursuant to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 30, series of 2003, which provides the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Presidential Decree 1586.

Because the project is exempted from an ECC, Cabanayan said, "If such project deemed or considered as under CNC, environmental units of national government agencies has the sole responsibility to implement mitigating measures."

The EMB will send a notice to the DPWH to inform them about the findings of their inspection so they may also perform mitigating measures.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson once ordered through a memorandum that all regional, bureau, service, project management directors and district engineers must strictly follow the law, secure all necessary requirements or permits such as ECC, CNC, tree cutting permit and disposal site permits among others for before undertaking any project.

However, in this situation the DPWH-Benguet 1st District Engineering Office failed to do so.

Moreover, aside from the road-widening project of the DPWH and the excavation in Aliping's property, it was also established small-scale mining activities, vegetable farming, residential housing and the road construction in Kabuyao were factors, which contributed to land and water pollution in the area.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 24, 2014.

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