APALIT -- “Hangga’t ako ang mayor dito, hindi ko mapapayagan na makapag-operate muli ang Stronghold Steel Corporation dito sa bayan ko (As long as I am the mayor here, I will never allow the Stronghold Steel Corporation to operate again in my town).”
This was the statement of Mayor Peter Nucom of Apalit town over the planned reopening of Stronghold Steel Corporation, a smelting plant located along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Paligui here.
Nucom recalled that the smelting plant, formerly known as Milwaukee Steel Corporation, was closed nearly three years ago due to several reasons, one of which was its alleged numerous violations of environmental laws.
He stressed that the reopening of Stronghold Steel Corporation will only trigger health and environmental problems in the municipality, particularly to the residents of Barangay Paligui and nearby Sampaloc.
Despite the huge taxes and hundreds of job opportunities that the smelting plant is foreseen to bring to the town, Nucom said it will never commensurate the harmful effects it will cause to the people of Apalit.
“Kapag nag-operate iyan, lalabas na iyong iba’t-ibang sakit. Nandiyan na iyung skin disease, tubercolosis. Although magpapasok siya ng millions of pesos, mas importante sa atin ang public safety, lalo na iyong kalusugan ng mga kabalen natin. Aanhin mo ang kita kung kalusugan naman ng mga tao ang nakasalalay,” he said.
(If it will operate, different kinds of illnesses will come out like skin disease and tuberculosis. Although it will bring in millions of pesos, public safety is more important for me especially the health of the people. What is the use of money if the health of your people is at stake)
Nucom also hit on the steel plant management for bypassing the local government in the implementation of their renovation activities and their plan to operate again in its jurisdiction.
He expressed his support to the measure implemented by the Sangguniang Bayan where it issued a suspension order on all activities happening inside the steel plant until the management discussed their plans with the local government and residents.
“Nakasuporta tayo sa ginawa ng mga konsehal natin dahil mabilis silang umaksyon pagkatapos makita iyong mga renovation o housekeeping jobs na ginagawa nila sa loob ng walang permiso mula sa municipal government,” he said.
(We support our councilors because they swifly acted upon seeing the housekeeping jobs they were doing inside even with permission from the municipal government)
It could be remembered that members of the Apalit Municipal Council ordered on February 7 the suspension of alleged “renovation” works being done at the closed steel plant in the town for lack of necessary permits.