SABLAN, Benguet – The alleged inaction of the municipal government on the closure of a commercial piggery farm in barangay Banangan despite repeated correspondences from the environment department only shows the insensitivity of municipal officials on the plight of the affected residents suffering from the pollution caused by the unabated discharges of piggery waste to the river system and the nuisance it continues to pose.
James Agcon, one of the complainants in the dereliction case filed before the Ombudsman against Mayor Manuel Munar, Jr., stated that since June last year, there were already findings from the Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) that uncovered Five Star Farms never secured business and sanitary permits from the municipal government in gross violation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued to it that warrants the concerned local officials to effect the closure of the piggery farm.
Worst, the investigation report states that some pig waste from the eroded canal of Breeding 3 building redirected to the lagoon overflows to the nearby creek and that the farm allegedly never submitted its required compliance monitoring report since the issuance of the ECC.
The report also assailed the non-compliance of the Five Star Farms to some of its commitments which its representative signed during the previous technical conferences called for the purpose.
The investigating team recommended that the EMB-CAR issue a notice of finality of judgement, copy furnished Five Star Farms, and subsequent order of execution because the management of the piggery farm has allegedly failed to either pay the penalty imposed by the said office or file an appeal before the Office of the DENR Secretary within 15 days from their receipt of the order on the motion for reconsideration.
The EMB-CAR was tasked to submit a supplemental report to the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) informing the board of the result of the follow-up investigation conducted by the technical personnel of the agency on the endorsed case for violation by Five Star Farms of pertinent provisions of the Philippine Clean Water Act among others.
According to the report, the EMB-CAR will coordinate with the Sablan municipal government for the closure or summary abatement of the establishment because it has deliberately failed to secure necessary permits for the operation of the commercial piggery farm such as business permit, sanitary permit, water rights for its deep well, pollution control officer, accreditation and discharge permit among others.
Aside from the fact that Five Star Farms has failed to secure the necessary business permit from the concerned local government unit, the report disclosed that the foul odor emanating from the piggery farm is a nuisance which may be abated by the municipal government as a valid exercise of police power pursuant to the general welfare clause of the provisions of the Local government code.
The team also recommended to the farm to immediately repair the eroded riprap, together with the canal at the back of Breeding 3 building and to the siphon the pig waste to the previous designated drying bed.
Despite the recommendation of the investigating team for the farm to implement all mitigating measures to contain all the waste water being generated by the piggery farm and for the farm to continuously submit monthly progress report on their commitments and the status of facilities being constructed at the farm, Agcon argued that the residents living near the commercial piggery farm continue to encounter the same problems that prompted them to seek the assistance of concerned sectors as municipal officials seem not to be interested in performing their mandatory duty to close the operation of unlicensed businesses operating in the municipality for alleged personal or political interests.
The complainant alleged that the people living the commercial piggery farm are now helpless because of the alleged inability of the municipal officials to perform their duties and responsibilities to uphold the general welfare of their constituents that is why concerned agencies should now start taking over the situation and facilitate the immediate closure of the piggery farm.
He called on municipal officials not to come out with reckless pronouncements that will show their incompetence in the performance of their duties and responsibilities but instead implement what has been mandated for them to enforce, such as the closure order of the commercial piggery farm because of the blatant violations that remain uncorrected to date. By HENT