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Laoac SB may dump waste to energy project, file cases vs past admin, DENR

"After a thorough investigation, concerned public officials must be prosecuted under the law, criminally and administratively, for entering into a contract that is grossly inimical to the interests of the public and the government.”Laoac,Pangasinan Vice Mayor Atty.Nelson Valdez Gayo

LAOAC, Pangasinan – The Sangguniang Bayan of this town may seek for the revocation of the memorandum of agreement the past administration it inked with Green Atom Renewable Energy Corporation for the set-up of a waste to energy facility in one of its barangays.

In a position paper submitted by SB chair and town vice mayor Nelson Gayo, he recommended for the rescission of the MOA the past administration signed for the put up of the WTE facility in barangay Inmanduyan here “for being grossly disadvantageous to the public.”

Gayo likewise said that officials of the past administration who inked the MOA must be prosecuted before a court of law.

He wrote: “After a thorough investigation, concerned public officials must be prosecuted under the law, criminally and administratively, for entering into a contract that is grossly inimical to the interests of the public and the government.”

Among the officials held liable are: barangay officials who “doctored the Barangay Resolution”; the Sangguniang Bayan “who did not comply with their duty in making an endorsement only after public consultation made under Section 27of the Local Government Code”, the former executive officials; and, Department of Environment and Natural Resources who issued the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) “even if condition precedents does not comply with it.”

Gayo also proposed that an injunction will be filed with a court to stop the implementation of the project and object to the issuance of the ECC from the DENR.

In his 42-page position paper submitted to the municipal council, Gayo argued that the barangay resolution was void in the first place.

The said barangay resolution dated Feb. 5, 2017 was signed by barangay captain Melinda Lim and three of the barangay kagawads with three refusing to affix their signature.

However, two of the three kagawads whose signature were in the resolution attested later that they did not sign, the position paper said.

On May 9, of the same year, Green Atom, through its chairman Luio Ticman wrote then mayor Silverio Alarcio, Jr. and the municipal council of its desire to put up the facility in Inmanduyan.

On July 31, also that year, the SB under then vice mayor Rolando Ramos approved two resolutions, the first is recognizing the barangay resolution and the power of the barangay council to approve such and, the second was an approval of Green Atom’s proposal to put up the WTE facility in said barangay.

In supporting the proposal, the SB resolution said: “the Sangguniang Bayan of Laoac will always be furnished with the result of testing, in-depth study[,] and evaluation by the technical experts of concerned agencies regarding the subject facility.”

However, Gayo’s position paper, said that no in-depth studies and evaluation by technical experts have been submitted with the SB.

In Jan. 15, 2018, the SB has authorized mayor Alarcio to enter into a Solid Waste Agreement with Green Atom.

The agreement was signed on January 29 wherein the proponent will build a state of the art waste to energy facility in said barangay; Green Atom as the builder-owner and operator Municipal Solid Waste Energy facility; to hire Laoac residents as employees and will be provided the training to run said facility; Green Atom to collect tipping fees on all hauling trucks; the local government to allow Green Atom to undertake contracts with LGUs, industrial zone and commercial establishments to maximize use of the facility.

Other salient features of the contract are: for the municipal government to help in hiring competent personnel from the province; same will guarantee volume of garbage per day; municipality to help in collection of waste materials from other towns of Pangasinan; the municipality to promulgate rules on waste disposal for all barangays and the efficient garbage collection; and, the municipality to enact measures to make available all road networks to accredited Green Atom haulers.

Gayo noted that all these agreements would prove later to be “not beneficial to the Municipality of Laoac.”

On the issuance of the ECC by the DENR – Region 1 on Jan. 14, 2019, Gayo noted that even if such is issued, Green Atom “may proceed with the implementation only after securing all the necessary and relevant permits from other pertinent Government Agencies…”

Such permits or clearances from offices that “have administrative jurisdiction” over such projects like DENR, the Environment Management Bureau, the Mines and Geo Science Bureau, the Departments of Health, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, among others, shall be secured before Green Atom could implement each phase of the project.

Gayo’s paper added: “So far, no permit of any kind has been submitted to the Sangguniang Bayan of Laoac. The Green Atom has not complied with this requirement, yet it still insists that it can proceed anyhow.”

During a meeting at the SB session hall on Sept. 6, 2019, residents of said barangay in a manifestation rejected the project.

The resident accordingly are in opposition because of environmental hazards and health risks.

With the assumption of Ricardo Balderas as Laoac mayor into office after the May 2019 elections, Green Atom in a letter asked for his support to the project, while the office of Gayo received a similar letter wherein it was reiterated the importance of the project.

In a public meeting on February 21 of last year where Green Atom was represented, the residents of Inmanduyan barangay and oppositionists aired their grievances including failure to secure the necessary permits.

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