By: Rodrigo S. Victoria
NAVAL, Biliran – The members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in the province of Biliran has set terms and conditions attached to the local legislation passed endorsing, permitting and supporting the geothermal exploration and drilling activities in the province.
Biliran Geothermal Incorporated (BGI), is set to explore and drill three geothermal test wells in April this year covering an area of 9,600 square meters in the barangays of Cabibihan and Villavicenta in the municipality of Caibiran this province.
One of the terms and conditions set by SP-Biliran based on the draft of Resolution No. 2 series of 2013, is for the BGI to strictly comply with all the conditions set forth in the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the regional office of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8 through the Environment and Management Bureau (EMB) and the Geothermal Renewable Energy Service Contract (GRESC) entered into by the company and the Department of Energy (DOE).
The ECC and the GRESC stipulate the entire terms and conditions covering the financial, environmental, technical ad legal aspects of the geothermal project in Biliran province.
A stringent term and condition was the automatic revocation of the resolution granted if BGI fails to comply with all the existing laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards set by the concerned government agencies in the conduct of its exploration and drilling activities in the aforementioned area in the province.
The third item among the four terms and conditions set by SP-Biliran will open job opportunities to Biliranons since BGI was asked to give preference to Biliranons in the hiring of people needed for the project.
The local legislators in Biliran province also included in the resolution the creation of a provincial monitoring team whose main function is to monitor and evaluate the effects of the geothermal exploration and drilling activities in the area covered by the geothermal exploration and drilling project.
The provincial monitoring team that will meet every quarter is composed of the provincial governor as chairman, the resident manager of BGI as co-chairman, provincial governor as vice-chairman, representatives from the offices of DENR and EMB as co-vice-chairman and the following members: SP chairman on environmental protection and ecology, provincial health officer, representatives from the academe, religious, non-government organizations and people’s organizations, Department of Health (DOH), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and from the business sector.
Meanwhile, Biliran Vice-Governor Manuel B. Montejo, Jr. clarified that members of the SP-Biliran have conducted a thorough study and evaluation of the proposed exploration and drilling project of BGI in the province.
Montejo informed that the members of SP-Biliran including the elected public officials of the concerned local government units in the province even went to Leyte geothermal plant in Leyte and in Palinpinon geothermal plant in Negros Oriental early this month just to get concrete ideas and picture of how safe is geothermal as a source of energy.
Montejo and SP-Biliran board members Eriberto Tubis, Jr. and Brigido Caneja III appeared in Sibya sa Probinsya, a regular radio program of the provincial government of Biliran hosted by Aldrin Caing, on Wednesday, January 30, with the staff of PIA-Biliran joining the discussion with Atty. Thea Gicela Nueve-Zamora, BGI legal counsel as guest. (PIA-Biiran)