Cement maker denies dumping in creek-A A +A
Saturday, September 8, 2012
CLOSE to 500 residents in a barangay in San Fernando town launched a signature campaign against a cement company for allegedly dumping limestone filling materials in a creek.
The residents of Barangay Balud, San Fernando were alarmed when they found out that personnel of the Mabuhay Filcement Inc., a company that operates in a neighboring barangay, were allegedly dumping limestone filling materials in the Lugot Creek.
A company representative, however, said Mabuhay is even involved in rehabilitating the river as a participant of the Environmental Management Bureau’s (EMB) 7 Adopt-an-Estero program.
The Lugot Creek serves as a boundary between Barangays Balud and Panadtaran in San Fernando.
But officials in the area said the cement company may have been dumping near the creekside, and that their activities have not fully affected their barangay Resurreccion Cañon, who initiated the signature campaign, told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday she and other residents in the barangay were very concerned about the alleged dumping of filling materials in the creek, because there had been instances, especially during rainy season, when the creek suddenly overflowed.
Cañon said the flooding problem in the area may worsen.
She revealed that the cement company started dumping filling materials in the creek last June. She had heard from those working there that they were dumping filling material to create a path toward the town’s coastal area, where the company is building a pier.
Cañon said they first complained of the dust and noise from the dump trucks carrying the filling materials. Eventually, they noticed that the dump trucks were continuously dumping the filling materials in the creek, which struck their attention.
She explained that while the creek may look dead at first glance, floodwater from the mountains often turns the creek into a river. She even recalled that residents in their barangay living near the creek were forced to evacuate their homes because of the huge floods.
Cañon also claimed that no public hearing or consultation was held before the cement company could conduct dumping in the creek.
“Pwede diay nga manglabay lang sila bisag walay public hearing (Are they allowed to dump without a public hearing)?” Cañon asked.
She heard from barangay officials that representatives of the cement company will be
conducting a public hearing on Sunday.
Cañon added that the company has no signs to show that it complied with the requirements needed for an environmental compliance clearance (ECC).
After seeing the filling materials dumped in the creek, Cañon and other residents in the area conducted a signature campaign against the cement company’s activities.
Aside from the dumping of filling materials in the creek, some of the residents in the area were complaining that their barangay roads in their area were destroyed by the constant movement of dump trucks.
They also claim that the dump trucks carrying the filling materials were not covered with protective covering and would often leave a trail of dust that has caused health problems among residents.
However, barangay officials of Balud said that the signature campaign against the cement company never reached their office.
Acting Balud Barangay Chief Dionisio Sanchez told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that while they have yet to receive the copy of the signature campaign, they believed that the
operations conducted by the cement company have not disturbed the barangay.
Sanchez admitted that there was supposed to be a public hearing with the cement company this Sunday, but it was postponed after the company’s representative begged off.
Mabuhay Filcement Inc. environment officer Ma. Teresita Pintor denied that the company is dumping filling materials in the river.
She told reporters that the company is even helping rehabilitate the river.
“In Barangay Balud, we are building for a proposed site development project where we will put up a pier facility,” said Pintor.
She added that the company is a participant in the Environmental Management Bureau’s (EMB) 7 Adopt-an-Estero program.
Pintor and a representative from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 will inspect the site.
There is backfilling on the property that is adjacent to the dry creek where they are constructing a pier facility.
Quarry Permit No. 08, series of 2012, was issued to Mabuhay Filcement Inc. through Enrison Benedicto, to extract and remove 10,000 cubic meters of limestone materials by the Office of the Governor last March 15, 2012.
The permit, which covers an area of 50,000 square meters, is valid for one year from the date of approval, and may be renewed after filing another application.
The same permit also states that the company has paid an extraction fee of P200,000 based on P20 per cubic meter for the limestone extracted.
In a separate interview, MGB 7 Regional Director Loreto Alburo said the quarry permit that was issued could also be suspended by the issuing authority.
“We (MGB 7) can recommend to the governor, for safety reasons or when there is danger to life or properties, appropriate action including suspension, warning. But if there is a grave reason, we can recommend cancellation of permit by the issuing authority,” he added.
Pintor also said the company conducted an information dissemination campaign for nearby residents on their activities.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 08, 2012.