By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY, 13Aug2013 (BicolToday.com) – The statement of Sorsogon bishop Arturo Bastes in support of the temporary closure and stoppage of operation of Peter Paul Philippines Corporation (PPPC) which is engaged in a multi-million venture to annually produce 145 thousand metric tons of processed buko juice was an added stock to City Mayor Sally Lee who accompanied city hall officials last Wednesday in serving the closure and stoppage order to PPPC for violation of environmental regulations, city ordinances and non-compliance of national laws.
The prelate in an interview with BicolToday.com lauded the city mayor of her political will saying that the diocese appreciated her efforts in favoring the environment which is in line with the sustainable development ideas of the church.
His words to the 800 or so workers affected by the closure was anchored that many more will be affected if the operation of the plant will continue and the problem will beget another problem which will make policy planners of city hall suspect of connivance, “connivance which already happened because of the issuance of temporary permit to operate by responsible city hall office”.
Bishop Bastes bewailed that issuance of temporary permit as “dangerous”, it allows the operating entity to “willfully disregard environmental safety standards, became negligent as the case of the buko juice plant.”
Observers here believe that the issue is far from over since the multi-million venture might be in the league of coconut industry players monopolizing coconut related businesses. Their influences are far-reaching.
The mayor referring to Sally Lee has shown a political will, it was a very good decision, it level-up with the community demand to close the plant operation. Her action is now a gauge for other investors to observe here in Sorsogon, said Bishop Bastes. [BicolToday.com]