By: Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (21 November) – The head of the environmental protection and eco-tourism section of the provincial government of Biliran clarified today that there was no permit to operate yet issued to the firm that will undertake the 20-hectare small-scale white clay mining operation in the upper portion of Barangay Tucdao in the municipality of Kawayan.
According to Sofronio B. Dacillo, Jr. environmental management specialist of Biliran province, the provincial government of thru Biliran Governor Rogelio J. Espina has not issued yet a permit to extract to Rowena C. Ang, the applicant of the small-scale white clay mining operation, because she did not file yet an application to his office for the said undertaking.
Dacillo said the provincial government will still wait for the compliance of the required documents before the issuance of a permit to extract like the resolutions coming from the concerned local government units interposing no objections to the proposed small-scale white clay mining operation; area clearance from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau, both offices under the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here in region 8.
He added that even if those requirements will be complied by the applicant, his office will still conduct an on-site verification together with representatives coming from the concerned government agencies, non-government organizations, people’s organizations and other private individuals to determine whether the applicant does not undertake any action in violation to existing environmental laws or whether environmental safeguards are in place which will serve as one of the basis for the approval of the permit.
Dacillo also stressed that a public hearing will likewise be conducted first before the approval of the permit so that various issues and concerns will be heard and be clarified as to its advantages, disadvantages, effects and benefits to the environment and to the general public
He informed that a public hearing on the proposed small-scale white clay mining operation will be held in the basketball court of Barangay Tucdao at 2:00 pm tomorrow (November 22, 2008).
Meanwhile, it was learned that the proposed small-scale white clay mining operation in the upper portion of Barangay Tucdao has met strong opposition from some of the concerned members of the community living in Barangay Tucdao and in some neighboring barangays.
It was also learned that a certain Father Greg Monte, a Franciscan Missionary priest serving in the parish of Barangay Tucdao and in some neighboring parishes led the move in opposing the proposed small-scale white clay mining operation. (PIA-Biliran)