By Felix’Boy’Espineda, Jr.
IROSIN, Sorsogon – Under pressure to come-up with a workable solution amid the growing concern and apprehension of local residents of possible environmental destruction, the Department of Energy and its geothermal exploratory partner Summa Kumagai Industries will conduct an Information Education Campaign (IEC) in Irosin town inviting the presence of the barangay chairmen of Mapaso, San Benon, Monbon, Tinampo, Cogon, Gulang-gulang, Bagsangan, Bolos and Patag in a letter sent to Vice-Mayor Medardo Futalan, Jr. for a coordination meeting together with the towns council. Summa Kumagai is also hard-pressed to start exploratory work in targeted areas since delays might create a bandwagon effect among non-government organization opposing further geothermal exploration in the southern part of Sorsogon province.
The letter looks forward to a favorable response and fruitful acceptance of partnership to a tri-partite interest assuring of all government regulatory compliance of environmental requirements during the exploratory and operation of the project.
This was a marked difference of the fiasco that occurred in Bulusan town when the IEC became a gross reality of opposition for geothermal exploration that tied the hands of local officials. The clamor against it was so strong that in silence a formula of running around the public opposition was opted, hence this compartmental approach. Disseminating all information relative to geothermal exploration will be a big task for the people of DOE and SKI considering that geothermal technical presentations are not an elementary subject that can be comprehended in a short council meeting.
Another problem confronting the proponents are the acceptability of the hosting barangay for Irosin has formidable NGO opposing environmental abuses. Even if the municipal council pass a resolution favoring the exploratory work, the local officials will be walking in a thin line for neighboring NGO’s will join forces to campaign against the exploratory works believed to be spearheaded by AGAP Bulusan who will conduct their own IEC about the ill effects of geothermal exploration before the end of the month.
The view of DOE, SKI and the project consultant Geosphere, about the geo-scientific study to be conducted in the surface areas will not damage or destroy any property or vegetation remains a mere lip service until such time that they can show proof to the people of the nine barangays subject of the study incontrovertible proof that such will be the case. Spicing the letter was an enticement that local laborers will be hired during the geological and geo-physical investigation phase of the project.
The DOE as before, will continue to hold dialogs with communities tap as possible exploratory sites since it is mandated to locate fossil and renewable energy sources to lessen the country’s dependence of imported fuel, though admitting that it took a lot of holistic consultations for a win win solutions to local concerns in protecting the environment.
If to push through, the coordinated meeting is on 4th of November as signed by SKI President and CEO Albert Altura. BicolToday.com
Copyright 2011 BicolToday.com. All rights reserved. Read BicolToday.com Syndication Policy.