THE Apalit Municipal Government is now looking into the possible extension of the 30-day cease and desist order served to Far Eastern Alcohol Corporation (Feaco) which allegedly caused fish kill in two Pampanga towns.
In an exclusive interview with SunStar Pampanga, Apalit Mayor Peter Nucom said that a four-month suspension might be imposed on Feaco to give way for its massive maintenance activity.
He stressed that the initial one-month suspension is not enough to conduct the required rehabilitation in the whole plant.
"Hindi lang one month, actually hindi ko talaga masabi pero at least three or four months pa. Ang kailangan kasi dito ay rehabilitation. Hangga't hindi ma-clear ang mga machines nila, wala silang permit. Para masiguro din natin na hindi na mauulit ito," he explained.
Aside from the massive rehabilitation, Nucom added that Feaco officials must apologize to the people of Macabebe and Masantol towns who were affected by the alleged fish kill.
Aside from this, the firm should also secure a clearance from the two towns' officials.
He stressed that Macabebe and Masantol residents, particularly fishermen whose livelihood were affected, deserve an apology from Feaco.
Feaco's machine, which reportedly malfunctioned, resulted to the accident that displaced the fisherfolk's families.
"Ang sabi ko sa kanila, pumunta sila dun, makipag-usap sila sa mga tao at sa mga opisyal. Tapos mag-secure sila ng clearance dahil hangga't wala 'yun, wala rin silang clearance dito sa amin," he noted.
Provincial Board members, meanwhile, supported the move of Nucom by raising the issue in their session.
Councilor Edmon Simon, who initiated the deliberation, said Feaco's suspension should not be lifted until it complies with the rehabilitation process set by Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other government agencies.
Despite the impending displacement of almost 100 plant employees, the local government should focus more on the big problem it might cause to thousands of residents of Apalit, Macabebe and Masantol towns.
"Naiintindihan natin 'yung mga empleyado. Siguro habang wala silang trabaho, pwede silang bigyan ng temporary work ng LGU. Mas mabigat kasi dito 'yung mga buhay na maaaring maapektuhan kung hindi natin ito gagawin," he noted.
Councilor Elias Mendoza III, for his part, said that a longer suspension period will allow the plant to repair the damages caused by the molasses leak.
He stressed the leak did not only affect fishermen, but the entire Pampanga River system.
The Municipal Council is yet to pass a resolution regarding the issue.
Council Secretary Glenn Danting said the local government is awaiting the results of the water test conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
"Our decision will be based on the results of the water test. We still have to wait for it before we craft the resolution," he noted.
The local government vowed to monitor waterways while the results are not yet out.
Nucom said he is in close coordination with the local chief executives of Macabebe and Masantol regarding the possibility of providing assistance to the affected residents.
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on September 28, 2017.
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