Group calls on DENR chief to resign

THE fisherfolk alliance on Sunday called on Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje to quit his post for his alleged failure to implement a cease and desist order against a company allegedly behind the mountain of coal stockpiled at the Manila Harbour Centre and Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) along Manila Bay.

Secretary Paje last week asked the LLDA to conduct an investigation of reported stockpiling of coal allegedly perpetrated by the company of businessman Reghis Romero, one of the port operators in Manila Bay.

“Secretary Paje should resign and submit himself to investigation. For the information of the general public, it is the officials of the DENR and the Environment Management Bureau in the National Capital Region that gave the go-signal to Romero’s company  to stockpile coal and make this portion of Manila Bay a national warehouse for dirty coal”, said Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).

“The Secretary of DENR is not doing his assignment. This dirty coal escapade of Romero in Manila bay has been a hot environmental talk for quite sometime but nobody from the DENR and even from the LLDA office dare to touch this concern for reasons only privy to them,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap in said in a  statement.

Hicap also scored LLDA General Manager Neric Acosta for dilly-dallying on the issuance of cease-and-desist order against the coal polluting firm in Manila Bay.

He said the presidential adviser on environmental concerns should also be made to explain why it has not issued the CDO given the order made by the DENR.

Hicap said appropriate charges should be filed against Paje, other environmental officials and the company of Romero which operates coal along the polluted waters of Manila Bay.

He said the coal operations were in direct contempt of and in grave violation of the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay rehabilitation.

The Pamalakaya leader said allowing HCPTI to stockpile 40,000 metric tons near Manila Bay means open invitation to catastrophe and environmental destruction.

Hicap said the DENR and the LLDA should have canceled the operations of Romero’s company on the very first day it started its stockpiling activity in Manila Bay.

“The DENR and the LLDA only made their respective and joint actions after this mountain of coal controversy was exposed to the general public. And we are not sure if these gestures on the part of the environment office and the lake authority are sincere and will deliver what public interest wants,” the militant group added.

According to Carlito Religioso, chief of staff of Secretary Neric Acosta, the LLDA’s Legal department is studying what legal actions to take against Romero’s company.

He said what was established so far is that the stockpiling of coal in Manila Bay has no clearance from the lake authority.



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