By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr., BicolToday.com
BULUSAN, Sorsogon – The strong opposition of Buluseño for the exploratory work of the propose Mt. Bulusan Geothermal Project was witnessed by the representatives of the Department of Energy, Summa Kumagi Industries(SKI), the project undertaker and the local officials of this agri-fishery town of 24 barangays.
The howling of opposition about the proposal was a hard blow to the proponent of the project though they will initiate another round of consultation in the future.
In a public forum, the issue of economic boom was drowned by the clamor in preserving the ecological balance of the town particularly the periphery of Mt. Bulusan as a national park.
The citizens group bonded themselves, displaying placards that geothermal is bane to the community, that it will destroy the promotion of eco-tourism potentials of the municipality.
Engineer Senen Aguilar in a technical presentation, countered the video clips of SKI promoting the advantages of the geothermal project. In the forum Aguilar expounded the waste bi-product of a geothermal operation such as hydrogen sulphide, arsenic, boron, mercury, all toxic materials that endanger humans.
Joining the discussions are the members of ASENSO San Roque, an environment advocate that monitors the bio-diversity of Bulusan National Park .
Their position was anchored on the effects of the exploratory works by SKI to the flora and fauna in the pilot area which is Barangay San Roque. The voices in the forum were unified in their opposition to the propose project, further contending that if the exploratory work is permitted, it follows that earth moving equipments will be use to clear the area subject of further exploratory works.
Aside from the eco-diversity of the propose exploratory area, the experiences of Sorsogon City as host to Bac-Man Geothermal Power Plant was use as a counter-point to the suppose benefits of the geothermal project in Bulusan by the Department of Energy and its partner Summa Kumagai.
The Summa Kumagai Industries through its Project Director, Engineer Benjamin Monzon revealed that unquantifiable benefits for the town in its exploratory stage should be considered. He said that the first two years budgetary cost is 20 million pesos, meaning, regulatory fees will be paid or an inflow of cash to the municipality aside from the job opportunities of the locals.
But countering the presentation, Jose Geñorga pointed, that such benefits can be earned by the locals by promoting their eco-tourism potentials. He pointed out that there are other areas for energy development such as the turbine power potentials of San Bernardino Strait , Nasipit Falls which were not considered by DOE. These areas can be develop as an alternative energy source, said he.
Knowing the sentiments of the public, local officials of the town has seen a need for a status quo. This was pronounced by Mayor Michael Guysayko, in his closing statement said, that he will go with the sentiments of the populace. This was necessary for the issue tied their hands since the project is a national government priority to harness fossil fuel as an alternative way of sourcing fuels.
Even with these pronouncements, environment advocates demands from the local officials of their town to spearhead a no campaign and pass a resolution declaring that Bulusan as an eco-tourism hideaway, should be spared from any man made exploitations.
On the issue if LGU Bulusan included geothermal exploration in its medium term development plan, Phillip Bartilet, an eco-tourism advocate opined that it was not included.Bartilet is a member of the local development council.
The project was based on the feasibility study during the 1980’s by the Philippine National Oil Company. At that time the country was still reeling from the effects of the OPEC oil embargo and started studies on the potentials of geothermal power as an alternative source of energy.
At present, the exploratory work, if to proceed, will be done in Barangay San Roque, an electric measuring device will be use to assess the geological condition of the area, its geological chemistry and its geophysical component. After comparison with the previous study, it is only then that further exploratory work will be made in the area.
The other municipality under contract for exploratory works are Juban which supported the idea during a consultation, the towns of Casiguran, Irosin, Barcelona and Casiguran. BicolToday.com
Copyright 2011 BicolToday.com. All rights reserved. Read BicolToday.com Syndication Policy.