By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday said the Hinoba-an Industrial Estate still faces a “long process,” following a public hearing by the Negros Occidental Provincial Board committee on laws, which discussed the application of clearances on earth-balling mangroves and upland trees located in the town’s Barangay Bacuyangan, where the $300 million Tsuneishi Heavy Industries ship recycling facility is set to be established.
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. requested the board to pass resolutions in order to grant him the authority to apply environmental compliance certificates from concerned government agencies in order to begin initial developments for the project.
“By approving the request of the governor, it does not mean the project will start already,” Lacson noted. “ We don’t even have an environmental compliance certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.”
Marañon also sought an endorsement to sign a foreshore lease agreement, which allows for the development of land between the low and high water marks, in order to develop an alternative port in the town’s Sitio Dalaguet.
Local environmentalist group Green Alert Negros (GAN), along with allied non-government and people’s organizations, opposed the facility, claiming 15,000 mangroves will be cut down.
They also cited the potential impact to coral, sea grasses, and livelihoods of the local community.
The Negros Occidental provincial government has allocated P20 million for the purchase of a 143,163-square meter resettlement area for families affected by the proposed economic zone, which, according to Lacson, is supported by the board./DGB, WDJ