Lazatin: Probe $400-M Clark golf course project-A A +A
Sunday, September 16, 2012
CLARK FREEPORT -- Representative Carmelo Lazatin (1st district, Pampanga) is set to file a resolution seeking a probe into the $400-million Donggwang Clark Corporation’s golf course project situated at a 304-hectare area inside the Freeport.
Lazatin said the investigation will determine if the developer is violating environmental laws or not.
“While a robust economy is a goal and dream of every province through projects like this, its negative effects on the environment should not be put in the backburner, especially when millions of lives are at risk,” Lazatin said.
The lawmaker said the inquiry will center on why the project was approved despite alleged violations of environmental laws and other government policies.
“We want to know why it was approved and who approved it despite alleged violations of environmental laws which now threaten the watershed area and the water supply in the Metro Clark area,” Lazatin said.
Lazatin also wants to confirm whether the ongoing project breaches boundaries of two ancestral domains in Bamban, Tarlac and Porac, Pampanga, resulting in the displacement of tribal families from the land of their ancestors.
The lawmaker filed the resolution after receiving complaints from several cause-oriented groups, including Subli and Alliance for the Development of Central Luzon that the project is being built in a watershed area, which is a clear violation of environmental laws.
“The groups also expressed concern about its negative effects on the environment, especially now that hundreds of trees have been cut down and mountains have been leveled off to make way for the project,” Lazatin said in his resolution.
In their complaint, Lazatin said the groups also claimed that water supply in the Metro Clark area, including Angeles City and the municipalities of Mabalacat and Magalang are now being threatened because of the destruction of the watershed area.
Lazatin also said the project runs contrary to the Central Luzon Medium Regional Development Plan of 2011-2016, where it is stated that development will observe soil and water conservation of critical watersheds, biodiversity and forest production activities.
The project also counters a study conducted by Louis Berger International Inc. in 1997 of the Clark Special Economic Subzone Master Development Plan, where it is started that “one of the problems in the subzone watersheds is impaired watershed hydrology resulting in erratic water supply, water shortage and floods.”
The study also recommended the protection of watersheds, including second-growth forests, in the interest of watershed management and the conservation water quality for potential future water supply.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 17, 2012.