By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY, 05Aug2013 (BicolToday.com) – There is no stopping for the community around the plant of Peter Paul Philippines Corporation (PPPC) engaged in processing coconut juices of their demand to immediately close the plant’s operation for failure to comply environmental safety standards and deliberate disregard of mandatory protocol in its operation.
The demand was made during the media briefing of the Commission on Media for Evangelization (CME) of the Diocese of Sorsogon attended by City Mayor Sally Lee who inherited the problem from her predecessor.
Mayor Lee committed that if the councils recommend closure through a resolution based on the findings and recommendations of the investigating panel she will comply with it. She said that she will hand personally the order of closure to Quirino Panganiban, the PPPC plant manager. Her pronouncement was a relief to the oppositors of the plant.
The problem became full blown after dark colors were discover along the creeks and waterways of Cabid-an river tracing it to the discharge of the plant, then inconclusive documents were discovered the lack of necessary documents compliant of the business which many at city hall are washing their hands how PPPC was able to unabatedly operate.
The discovery exposed by the group of Fr. Michael Imperial was a blackeye to key city hall departments said Eduardo Gordola whose livelihood was affected by the contaminants of the plant. Sister Odelia Golloso of the Sister Servants of the Divine Healers (SSDH) aired the complaint of the parents of the congregation run school that the pupils health are at stake if the plant will continue to operate without complying safeguards. The plant five hectare property shared boundary with the school. They are also demanding closure of the plant. City Councilor Joven Laura chair of the committee on good government said that with all the violations of the plant, the need to close is paramount.
The people of Barangay Cabid-an are united in condemning the plant because of its total disregard of established laws and regulations are now demanding its closure until such time that full compliance of the recommendations of the composite team who verified and conducted inspection of the facility.
The findings all negatives to necessitate closure
Affected are the waterways of the community because of the ill-designed waste water treatment facility which are hazardous and non-compliance of the clean-air act, the improper disposal of sludge from the waste water impounding area, the lack of documents from regulatory government agency, the fishkill associated with the buko juice plant operation, foul smell emitted by the plant that causes nausea and headaches to the pupils of nearby school and religious retreat house are believed attendant to the improper operation of the plant.
Peter Paul Philippines Corporation projects to process 145,000 metric tons per annum of coconut water concentrate and desiccated coconut products. It has a similar plant in Barrio Pahinga, Candelaria, Quezon. The material storage and processing facility, the boiler and waste water treatment facility installed by the plant are not covered by documents approved by DENR-EMB.
The boastful connection with city hall by PPPC was evident when it operated without a mayor’s permit and the delay of the action of the former city hall occupants of the complaints aired by the fisherfolks and affected residents of Barangay Cabid-an dismayed Gordola. They were given turn around when they first aired the complaint soliciting instead the diocese help. He said that if it was acted prudently by city hall such mess been avoided and the destruction of ecological balance did not happened. [BicolToday.com]