By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A public hearing surrounding the planned Southern Negros Development project in Hinoba-an will take place today.
Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Alain Gatuslao said the provincial board will be holding the hearing, saying it would provide residents a venue to air their concerns.
Earlier this year, 300 hectares in Barangays Obong and Salvacion were converted from agricultural to industrial land, in order to accommodate for a ship-breaking facility, which was agreed between Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. and executives of Tsuneishi Heavy Industries, Inc. in the prior year.
Gatuslao noted, the governor believes it would create opportunities for environmental projects and would serve as one of his legacies.
However, earlier this year, local environmentalist group Green Alert Negros (GAN) slammed the project, citing research regarding ship recycling yards in other countries, which revealed workers and the public were exposed to health and environmental hazards.
They also pointed out, the hull of a ship can cause high levels of contamination to soil, air, marine, and freshwater resources in nearby areas, which could adversely affect the livelihood of local communities.
The group also contradicted the governor on his projection of future environmental projects, previously saying, “This can only promise us a cheap-paying job in tough and dangerous conditions.”/WDJ