Dole-Stanfilco told to stop water impounding project in Kidapawan

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) — Fruit giant Dole-Stanfilco has been ordered to stop its open-pit excavation for a water impounding facility in Barangay Perez, Kidapawan City which local officials said endangers the area’s source of drinking water.

Dole-Stanfilco’s excavation at their banana plantation. Photo courtesy of CDRRMO Kidapawan

Barangay chair Alan Masibay on Tuesday served the cease-and-desist order issued last week by City Mayor Joseph Evangelista.

The order directed the company to stop excavating and constructing the water impounding facility.

The facility lies within Dole-Stanfilco’s banana plantation, city legal counsel Atty. Christoper Cabilen said.

Cabilen, however, explained the construction of the facility appears to have violated Section 43 of Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, and Section 123 of Provincial Ordinance Number 326, series of 2004, of North Cotabato

“Thus, [if the project continues], it will pose grave danger to residents living in the downstream and upstream communities,” said Cabilen in his official Facebook page on March 13.

Barangay Perez is one of the main sources of drinking water being tapped by the Metro Kidapawan Water District for the city and Matalam town in North Cotabato.

Cabilen, local police and personnel from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office accompanied Masibay when he handed the order to Dole-Stanfilco.

The lawyer said local police have cordoned the excavation site pending an investigation.

“The city mayor has directed the team to file appropriate charges against those who may have been found violating the law and the provincial ordinance,” he said.

Dole Stanfilco has yet to issue a statement on the mayor’s order. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)