Council pushes for cement plant project despite opposition

Council pushes for cement plant project despite opposition

DESPITE opposition from residents, the Sibonga Municipal Council continues to push for the establishment of a cement manufacturing plant, pier and quarry site.

The council passed on its second reading the proposed establishment of the facilities of Bayan Cement Producers Corp. (BCPC) on Tuesday, June 26, 2024.

The council members had to divide the house after three councilors manifested their opposition to the proposed measure.

The three councilors who voted against the projects were Noel Ponce, Joejie Chan and Ramon Paul Ponce Pananganan.

Six councilors did not oppose the proposed establishments. One councilor was absent.

In 2022, BCPC proposed establishing a cement manufacturing plant, pier, and quarry site in Sibonga; however, some residents and environment advocate groups due to concerns over its potential environmental impact.

The proposed project includes a 16-hectare cement plant area with a crushing plant in Barangay Sabang, a 410.47-hectare mining claim area in Barangays Sabang, Mangyan, and Candaguit, and a 2.2-hectare pier area in Sabang.

The project’s cost ranges from P10 billion to P15 billion.

SunStar Cebu earlier reported that residents of Sabang have raised concerns about the project, such as prioritizing local employment, air pollution, possible landslides, and the impact on water sources and livelihoods like fisheries and farming.

BCPC has assured residents that 80-90 percent of the employees will be local and that the mangroves will not be affected.

Local group Fight for Sibonga shared on its Facebook page Wednesday, June 26, 2024, that a concerned citizen submitted a petition to the Office of the President (OP) through the Presidential Complaint Center in 2022, asking the government to stop BCPC from implementing its projects.

The OP forwarded the petition to the Cebu Provincial Government, which then endorsed it to the Sibonga mayor.

The petition was clearly not heeded as the council pushed through with its discussion regarding BCPC’s proposed projects, according to Fight for Sibonga.

Fight for Sibonga also said that the Unifying Sectoral Responses on Environmental Protocols in Sibonga, a nongovernmental group, also initiated a signature campaign.

“The third and final reading is this coming Tuesday (July 1),” the group said, adding that there will be a prayer rally on the last reading. / CDF

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