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Protest rally is brewing against the SP reso approving SMC projects in Pagbilao & Sariaya

Fr. Warren Puno, director of Ministry of Ecology at the Diocese of Lucena and Jay Lim of Tanggol Kalikasan, filed the protest letter which was received by Rushel Cabana, an employee of Sangguniang Panglalawigan Records Division. (JOHN BELLO)

by John A. Bello

LUCENA CITY – Protest rally is brewing against the approval of a resolution by the Sangguniang Panglalawigan (SP) about several development projects of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to be located in Pagbilao and Sariaya.

Fr. Warren Puno, director of Ministry of Ecology at the Diocese of Lucena, and Jay Lim, director on constituency building program of Tanggol Kalikasan, have filed at the Sangguniang Panglalawigan a manifesto of protest expressing the opposition of the church and several nongovernment organizations regarding the SP resolution which was approved on Dec. 17.

Rushel Jusi Cabana, an employee from the Records division of SP received the manifesto on Friday (Jan. 18) for inclusion in the agenda of the SP regular session.

“Nakakalungkot isipin na ang mismong ating mga hinalal na mga kinatawan sa ating Sangguniang Panglalawigan at ang mismong nahalal na Gobernador ay tila mas nakapanig ngayon sa malaking korporasyong tulad ng SMC, sa halip na sa mga mamamayang nagluklok sa kanila sa kapangyarihan,” the letter-manifesto, signed by Puno, said, adding that what the SP did shows that it does not give the communities any hearing on where the projects are to be located and it does not give them time to study to make the right decision for their community and environment.

“Napag-aralan po kayang mabuti ang bawat proyektong itatayo ng SMC? Nagkaroon po kaya ng tama at malayang konsultasyon sa mga mamamayang maaapektuhan ng mga proyektong ito? Ano po kaya ang kapalit ng mabilisang pagpapasyang ito?” the manifesto asked the SP members headed by vice governor and presiding officer Samuel Nantes.

The SP on Dec. 17 has approved Resolution No. 2018-847 “expressing the full support of the provincial government of Quezon by approving the list of proposed projects of San Miguel Corp. in the province and interposing no objection to its implementation and operation.

Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has written Gov. David Suarez with the list of projects and requested the latter to facilitate the favourable endorsement and approval by the Sang. Panglalawigan.

The proposed projects to be established in Pagbilao are the following: 2.0M MTPY cement plant with Co-gen plant, up to 1.200 megawatts CFB power plant (clean coal technology), deep sea port, all with the proposed location in Bgy. Ibabang Polo; dressing plant, slaughterhouse, ready-to-eat (RTE) plant to be located in Bgy. Ilayang Palsabangon; logistics center and quarry to be located in Bgy. Ilayang or Ibabang Palsabangon and Bgy. Ilayang Bagumbungan.

Those to be set up in Sariaya are the following: tank farm, brewery, feedmill and cement grinding plant, pier and port facilities all proposed to be located in Bgy. Castañas or Bgy. San Roque Guisguis.

There will also be proposed access road and site development and relocation/resettlement sites for target areas in both towns.

The move was initiated by SP member Ferdinand Talabong and unanimously seconded by his colleagues. The resolution cited for its reason that “the establishment and development of various industries and businesses will provide employment and additional revenue that would accelerate and ensure the growth of the province and directly benefit the people of Quezon.”

The joint committees on Laws, Rules and Regulation and Ways and Means both chaired by Talabong and board member Isaias Ubana II have recommended to the plenary of the SP to approve the SMC projects in Pagbilao and Sariaya. Other members of the joint committees who signed the recommendation included board members Donaldo Suarez, Vincent Dominic Reyes, Claro Talaga Jr. and Raquel Mendoza.

Earlier, on Nov. 19 last year, Gov. Suarez wrote to the SP members thru the SP presiding officer to request for the passage of a resolution, certified as ‘urgent’ which approves the list of SMC projects.

The news story about the controversial issue was published by Business Mirror on Jan. 17 and banner story in Sentinel Times on Jay 12-18 edition.

Lim expressed dismay on what Nantes said about the alleged clean coal technology during the regular session on Monday, Jan. 21.

“Nagri-research daw tungkol sa clean energy si vice gov. Nantes at ang coal daw ay meron nang clean technology kaya naman ang itatayo dawn g SMC ay clean coal. Susmiyo! Sarap hamuning sabay kami magkape ni vice gov, kapehin niya ang clean coal niya at sa akin ay kapeng barako at pag nainom niya ang kapeng clean coal ay maniniwala ako sa kanya,” Lim posted in his Facebook wall on Jan. 22.