Zambales folk say port project will harm environment, agri
SAN NARCISO, ZAMBALES—Over 50 residents and members of environmental groups staged a protest here on Thursday to oppose the dredging activities of a trading company for the construction of a causeway and jetty port along the town’s shoreline.
The protesters said the construction of a port in an area that would also include portions of nearby San Felipe town could be a prelude to black sand mining, calling it “destructive and illegal.”
“Our town is heavily relying on tourism, fishing and agriculture and this kind of project will cause severe damage to our environment and our source of livelihood,” Ricardo Reyes, president of environmental group Save Zambales Kalikasan Movement (SZKM), told the Inquirer in an interview.
According to Reyes, the jetty port and causeway construction led by AGN Trading, a company based in Pampanga province, is among the five projects that will be built in the province to “service corporations” that will haul lahar from Mt. Pinatubo to other parts of the country and other clients in Asia.
He said the San Felipe causeway project would reclaim a functioning river and turn it into a road network connected to the river dike road while the planned private jetty port would service trucks hauling lahar from Mt. Pinatubo.
“We will end up with no marine and forest resources and the ones benefiting from this change will be the miners,” Reyes added.
Since October, the Inquirer has been calling and sending messages to San Narciso Mayor William Lim, San Felipe Mayor Leo Farrales and AGN representative Allan Nuqui to seek their comments but they have yet to respond.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in October, issued a notice of violation to AGN after a series of protests from residents. The DENR ordered AGN to pay P50,000 in damages for dredging the site for its jetty port in April without an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), a requirement for projects that would significantly and potentially cause negative environmental impacts. Officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways also denied issuing dredging permits to AGN for its jetty port.
But earlier, on Sept. 3, Wilson Trajeco, director of the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR in Central Luzon, issued a separate ECC for the causeway project of AGN, saying the company had “satisfied” the requirements for its ECC application.
The ECC was for dredging activities along the western river basin of Mt. Pinatubo in the downstream portion of Sto. Tomas River in San Felipe. —JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT
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