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ECC VIOLATIONS

EMB stops Batangas land dev’t

/ 04:00 AM November 18, 2019

SAN PEDRO CITY—The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) ordered a land developer to stop its “blasting and drilling” activities on Mt. Malipunyo in Sto. Tomas City, Batangas, following complaints from the villagers that it was conducting illegal quarry operations in the guise of an ecotourism project.

The EMB in Calabarzon region last week issued a cease and desist order against Adventureland International Leisure Corp., the company behind the development of a 252,600-square-meter land into a commercial and leisure park in Barangay Sta. Clara.

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The company was also cited for a number of violations of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC), among them the lack of a drainage and wastewater facility, and for failing to install a wire mesh to prevent soil erosion and public signages.

In a telephone interview last week, Jearmane Gabo, Adventureland operations manager, said the company, on Oct. 30, had filed its appeal to the EMB’s order, but it had yet to receive a reply.

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Gabo also denied the company was conducting illegal quarrying on the mountain.

‘Irreparable damage’

“[I]n order to prevent grave and irreparable damage to the environment, [Adventureland] is ordered to refrain from conducting any activity other than what is stipulated in the ECC. No drilling and blasting activities shall be allowed,” read an Oct. 24 order signed by Noemi Paranada, EMB regional director.

In May, the local government of Sto. Tomas wrote Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to seek clarifications on the scope of the permits issued to Adventureland.

Municipal Administrator Salvador Geling, in the letter, said the local government had received numerous reports and complaints from villagers about the “seemingly wanton destruction” of the mountain to give way to the park development.

The project includes the construction of a commercial complex, a sports center, an airsoft battlefield and staff housing facilities. It requires “stripping and leveling” of some portions of the mountain to pave the way for a road network, from the ground to an elevation of at least 375 meters above sea level.

While Gabo denied that the firm was into quarrying, he admitted to “controlled and developmental” drilling and blasting, which he said were necessary processes to clear the way of hard, solid boulders.—MARICAR CINCO

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TAGS: Batangas, environmental management bureau, Mt. Malipunyo, Sto. Tomas City
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