Most of Bukidnon ECCs violated

Provincial board member Glenn Peduche (2nd district) revealed part of the MMT's findings and recommendations Wednesday, saying most of them violated their areas' buffer zones, among other abuses.

Peduche told MindaNews the recommendations include imposing penalties, a move backed by the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the body issuing ECCs.

Peduche heads the 14-member provincial MMT, the group tasked to monitor if the firms comply with the conditions provided by the ECC.

He said they have evaluated at least 13 companies holding a total of at least 33 ECCs.  

He vowed to make public more specifics of the report once it gets through the Provincial Governor's Office. He also pledged to give each member of the board a copy of the report during next week's regular session.

Peduche clarified that violators would face a hearing in the DENR's regional office in Cagayan de Oro City. He refused to provide more details of the report, a copy of which has been passed to Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri, Jr. this week.

He said firms are forced to pay at least P50, 000 in penalty for each violation.

Provincial board majority floor leader Camilo Pepito (2nd district)  said the local government tries to protect the environment but not a portion of the fines go to local coffers.

Peduche named at least 10 of the ECC-holders in Bukidnon in an interview after the regular session this week.

Among those he cited are agricultural plantations such as Agrinanas, Del Monte, Dole Philippines, Lapanday, MKADC, MKAVI and South Fresh Fruits. He said they ended their twice per year monitoring of banana and pineapple plantations last year.
The other companies in the list include Bukidnon Sugar Milling Co, in Butong, Quezon; Rebisco Biscuit plant in Damilag, Manolo Fortich; and a Cepalco power facility in Baungon. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)