Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
The temporary closure and stoppage of Peter Paul Philippines Corporation coconut processing plant in Barangay Cabid-an by City Mayor Sally Lee doesn’t however stop them from pulling again the rug from under from government regulatory agencies. They can upend their loss production hours and profits by resorting to lock-out with middle men who can turn around public perception.
In short notice, the corporation went to see the lady city mayor showing documents of compliance issued by DENR-EMB saying that they only lack the mayor’s permit to operate. That’s Potter’s hogwash for if they have it why did they not put it forward knowing that is it compliant of regulations.
Let me refresh the shortness of their memory.
When the fact finding team inspected the facility after the complaint of Cabid-an fisherfolks, “construction of support facility and installation of equipments are on-going, the coconut water processing facility is not yet completed, the buko juice is just thrown away into a network of drainage canals inside the facility”, was one of the findings. It likewise notice that the” impounding facility of waste water emits foul odor” which was the subject of the complaint of the adjacent community bounded by the PPPC. It also admitted that their eight inches discharge pipe for waste water leads directly to Sorsogon Bay. Without a functioning facility, the fact finding noted that it started it dry run operation without a valid Wastewater Discharge Permit.
By these findings and admission alone, correcting it is no shortcut, yet days after the closure and stoppage, they brag to the city hall that they have complied with the requirements of regulatory agencies and are intending to secure a mayor’s permit to operate.
Now, PPPC is directed to help and assist in the clean-up of polluted sections of Cabid-an River and provide reparations, it is also required to secure valid Waste Water Discharge Permit and Permit to Operate in accordance with existing government effluent standards.
To whose faults it is? Sure PPPC will not get the axe if it complied, PPPC could have complied properly if it was given the proper documents for it to comply and did not resorted to horse trading with regulators, or the regulators tacitly piecemeal the documents for PPPC can be milked and bilked, by whom? Let me guess, purely a guess.
The investigating team composed of city hall employees were the one involved in the temporary issuance of permits, the City ENRO issued a temporary permit, the City Health Office did the same, the City Engineers might have remised their inspection as to the approved design compared to as build plan. The three are composite of the fact finding team. Who earns more than city hall coffers? Their remission and omissions are bane to the environment and perpetually damage the reputation of city hall departments.
To make this story short, here are the omitted regulations which Peter Paul Philippines Corporation blatantly ignored when they conducted their test run earning perhaps millions and depriving city hall of its much needed revenue.
It violated Presidential Decree No. 856, Code on Sanitation of the Philippines, PD No. 979, Martine Pollution Decree of 1976, PD No. 1151, Philippine Environmental Policy, PD No. 1586 failure to establish an Environmental Impact Statement System, including other Environmental Management related measures, Republic Act 8550, Philippine Fishery Code of 1998, RA 8749, Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, RA 9003, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000,RA 9275 Clean Water Act of 2004, City Ordinance No. 007 series of 2005 of Sorsogon City, City Ordinance No. 13 series of 2005 of Sorsogon City, City Ordinance NO.l 3 series of 2008, Sorsogon City Zoning Regulations, the City Tax Code, their failureon mandatory protocols with their ECC under ECC-RO5-1202-0018 and Building Code of the Philippines.
Now, before city hall officials should lift the temporary closure and stoppage order that it served with PPPC, compliance of the mandated rules, policies and other safeguards should be done and attendant penalties imposed against PPPC for disregards and circumvention of rules and regulations. It should likewise made comprehensive settlement with the affected communities and must be forthright on its business dealings with Sorsogon City. On the part of city officials, they should also be strict and not blinded by the oils and grease of coconut funds as what happened before and responsible city hall officials and employees who turned a blind eye to this shameful mess should be persecuted administratively and if warranted criminally. They earned their purse more than their salary, no reason that they should not be hauled to a court of law.
Justice must be serve, not only to the people of Sorsogon City, but to mother earth.