Leyte mayor Oñate's farm secures TRO from DENR site visit | Inquirer News

Leyte mayor Oñate’s farm secures TRO from DENR site visit

/ 06:29 PM September 10, 2023

Leyte mayor Oñate's farm secures TRO from DENR site visit


TACLOBAN CITY — A team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Eastern Visayas on Friday didn’t conduct their site inspection on a breeding farm which is subject to a complaint for alleged environmental violations.

This after DBSN Farms Agriventures Corp–owned by Palompon town Mayor Ramon Oñate–was able to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from a court hours before the DENR were about to conduct their visit.


The 72-hour TRO issued by Judge Dexter Aguilar of the Regional Trial Court Branch 17 showed that conducting an excavation within the premises of the breeding farm owned by Oñate would result to violation of his rights considering that the DENR has yet to release its report on the site inspection it conducted on July 27 and 28 of this year.


But the team from the DENR’s survey and mapping division headed by Engr. Dioleta Villas said that based on the travel order issued by Regional Executive Director Lormelyn Claudio, they would not be conducting any excavation activities at the breeding farm.

“We will just conduct a mapping reading inside the breeding farm and determine if indeed the alleged dumping of these hazardous wastes were located within the reserved forest or at the watershed area,” she said.

The DENR team, composed of two engineers and one survey aide, was accompanied by police personnel from the regional police.

However, when they were proceeding to the site, the entrance going to the breeding farm was barricaded with several parked vehicles, motorcycles, and a group of men, purportedly supporters of Oñate.

Villas said they will just make a report to their regional director on what happened, adding that she could not make any further comment on what their office would do next.

The DENR’s move stemmed from a complaint filed by Georgina Arevalo, former mayor of Palompon, who claimed that solid and hazardous wastes were dumped by the facility and buried in pits which were all located within the forest reserve and watershed areas.


Arevalo based her complaint on the report made to her by some residents of the village who claimed that the dumping of wastes was not only causing some health concerns but resulted in them losing their source of water.

John Kevin Pilapil, a media practitioner based in Ormoc City, said that the act of these men put their lives in danger.

According to him, a group of men approached the vehicle where he and some members of the media were on board and struck the vehicle’s windows, purportedly for them to roll down the windows.

Some of these men were holding stones.

Oñate denied that his farm has dumped waste to the watershed, saying they have a treatment facility.

He insisted that the DENR could not conduct any excavation unless ordered by a court.

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“What they could only do is conduct a visual inspection. They can visit the farm anytime,” he said.


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TAGS: DENR, Leyte, Oñate, TRO

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