BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered the City Permits and Licensing Division to issue the closure order to the operator of the Camp 7 cement batching plant for its inability to obtain the required business permit while concerned offices are working on the health and environmental issues that will justify the local government’s action against the said facility.
The local chief executive said the City Health Office and the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), which are members of the task force earlier created to look into the violations of the batching plant, to finalize the report required from them that will strengthen the city’s position against the batching plant operator considering its supposed violations on health and environmental regulations.
“Camp 7 residents are contemplating on filing the appropriate charges against city officials for our alleged inaction on their repeated petitions for the closure of the batching plant situated in their place which had been causing health and environmental problems to them through the years,” Domogan stressed.
He claimed that the batching plant operator seems to be allegedly using the legal battle against the city’s Anti-Batching Ordinance not to comply with his previous commitment to relocate the said facility outside the city within one year.
He instructed City Legal Officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes to prepare the city’s position for the possible re-opening of the case before the local courts following the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) that remanded the issue to the lower courts to expound on the health and environmental issues that will justify the closure of the batching plant.
Rabanes disclosed that the batching plant operator appealed the ruling of the CA that reversed a ruling of a lower court that declared as unconstitutional the city’s Anti-Batching Ordinance but he will look into the matter considering that part of the CA’s ruling was to return the case to the lower court for the conduct of a full blown hearing that will allow the local government to ventilate the health and environmental issues that will warrant the closure of the plant.
It can be recalled that the local legislative body enacted Ordinance No. 43, series of 2007 prohibiting the operation of cement batching plants in the city because of the health and environmental issues that affect the residents of the city.
Domogan said the Camp 7 cement batching plant is located within a residential area which compelled the affected residents to time and again complain on the health and environmental issues caused by its operation to the people living around the facility.
He underscored it is important for the concerned offices that comprise the task force against batching plants to strengthen their positions on the matter so that when the lower court will open the case, the local government will be ready to ventilate the justifications on why cement batching plants are not allowed in the city.
Domogan claimed there is no reason why the operator of the Camp 7 batching plant cannot relocate its facility outside the city when the other batching plant operators were able to relocate their facilities in strategic areas outside the city.
By Dexter A. See