Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, January 08, 2009

SBMA's power to issue environment permits revoked

The Environment department on Wednesday revoked the power of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to issue environmental permits and clearances following locals’ claims of violations in the economic zone.

"The department delegated the powers to the SBMA... [but] lately, there were problems that environmental certificates were given to projects contrary to our environmental concerns," Environment Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. said in a phone interview.

A 2006 agreement with the Environment department deputized the SBMA to issue environmental certificates to companies prior to starting ventures in the free port zone.

"We have decided to take direct control in Subic instead of allowing SBMA to have sole authority over the implementation of environmental laws inside the free port zone,’’ Mr. Atienza said in a statement.

He said the SBMA has failed to secure from the department a programmatic environmental compliance certificate for the economic zone, which was due on December.

The SBMA also failed to provide the department its right to confirm all previously issued clearances and permits, and give regular monitoring reports of environmental compliance among certificate holders, which are mostly foreign investors, the department said in the statement.

Last year, Korean ship builder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Corp. was criticized after it cut trees in an islet it had leased to build one of its facilities, while Grand Utopia, another Korean-owned company, came under fire in November because of its plan to cut 300 trees to build a $120-million casino hotel.

Mr. Atienza said SBMA should first implement environmental laws before its authority could be restored.

SBMA officials were unavailable for comment.

By: Neil Jerome C. Morales - BusinessWorld

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  • I should say congratulations to DENR! Hopefully Sec. Lito Atienza and his entire department in Region 3 will be serious to act against those companies here in the freeport zone with existing violations on environmental protection.

    Mga Filipino employee din po kasi ang kawawa at ang mga mamamayan na nakatira malapit sa freeport dahil hindi lahat ng companies sumusunod sa batas natin. Gusto nila sila ang siga dito sa teritoryo natin dahil sila ang kapitalista. Maraming malalaking kompanya ang may problema sa environmental protection ganuon din naman sa safety and health.

    Natatakot yata ang SBMA mawalan ng investors. Kasi kapag may problema ang mga kompanya sa Ecology Center sa chamber of commerce tumatakbo para sa protection ng investment nila. Tuloy hindi maipasara ganuon din ang maliliit na kompanya na ayaw magbigay ng tamang protection sa mga manggagawang Filipino. Simula na ito ng masigasig na pag-iimbestiga ng ating gobyerno at mas marami pang problema ang higit sanang maayos natin.

    Bangon Olongapo! Mabuhay ang Filipino.

    By Anonymous juandelacruz, at 1/09/2009 3:54 PM  

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