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New Environment Control Won't Affect Farms

by 5m Editor
23 October 2008, at 9:07a.m.

PHILIPPINES - Business establishments in Bantayan Group of Islands will continue to operate despite the court's order stopping the environment agency from issuing Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) for 15 days.

"There are businesses that continue to operate even if they do not have an ECC," lawyer Benjamin Cabrido told Cebu Daily News.

"That is why we are asking for a protected area management plan. If the plan shows that the poultry farms are located outside strict reserve zones and inside multi-purpose zones, there is no need for an ECC," he added.

Mr Cabrido is the legal counsel for petitioners led by environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa and other Bantayan Island residents who asked the court to stop the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from accepting, processing, reviewing applications and from issuing ECCs in Bantayan Island.

Judge Marilyn Lagura-Yap of the environment court in Mandaue ordered DENR's Environment Management Bureau not to issue ECCs for 15 days or until both parties involved in the case to submit their position paper.

"The poultry owners would not need ECCs when the management plan has already been formulated and business will continue inside multiple use zones. The cancellation of ECCs is advantageous to them," said Cabrido.

"I would advise them to participate in the formulation of the management plan," he added.

He reiterated that the aim of the petition is 'to protect marine resources and scarce water supply'. Two lawyers, Benjamin Negapatan and Jupiter Stalin Larida, who represented poultry owners in Bantayan Island were present at the TRO hearing on 20 September.

Mr Larida had said that they wanted to protect their interest in the case, which is the ECC issued to them for the operation of poultry farms.

The petitioners, he said, failed to identify the ECCs that they asked the court to declare null and void.

He also said their poultry business would be affected if the ECC of a power generating plant is nullified.

"The point is that the ECCs are not permits but a set of conditions. We are just clarifying the procedure on ECC issuances," Mr Cabrido told Cebu Daily News.