TACLOBAN CITY – Fishes in a nearby river died, while the water on the rice fields was filled with industrial wastes. People started getting sick, especially those who have allergies and respiratory illnesses. Residents, even passersby complain of the pungent odor near a dressing plant and dumping area in the municipalities of Albuera and Palompon, Leyte.
Nida, not her real name, said they have long been suffering from the obnoxious odor coming from the dressing plant in Brgy. Tinag-an in Albuera.
“We want them to dispose of their wastes properly. It has been our problem from the moment we wake up to the time we sleep until now,” she lamented.
Nida claimed that they have already sought help from their barangay council and filed a petition for the dressing plant to comply with proper waste disposal since 2016 but were told that it was still on process up to the present.
“We do not want them to close because they are giving employment to a lot of people not just in Albuera but we hope that they look for solutions to address our concerns,” she added.
Meanwhile, Rosa, not her real name too, from Brgy. San Joaquin, Palompon, Leyte, said she lives at least 30 meters from a dumping site. She said that some of them would suffer from vomiting and diarrhea due to the flies and pungent odor coming from the wastes in the dumping site near their homes.
She said that wastes such as chicken dung, carcasses, and blood placed in drums, plastics bags, or sacks are transported to the land owned by DBSN Farms Agriventures Corporation.
Brgy. San Joaquin is said to sit within the buffer zone of the declared watershed in Ormoc Bay, which has been declared part of the National Integrated Protected Areas System or the NIPAS Act of 2018 (RA 11038).
This prompted Nida and other concerned citizens, with the help of an environmental advocacy group to file an environmental suit against DBSN allegedly owned by Vice-Mayor Ramon Oñate of Palompon, Leyte.
This week, a complaint for issuance of a Writ of Environmental Protection Order, Clean-up, Restoration, Rehabilitation of the affected environment with Prayer for Temporary Environmental Protection Order was filed by the concerned residents against the respondent and the Environment Management Bureau (EMB), as an unwilling complainant, for its alleged failure to enforce its decision finding various environmental violations committed by private respondent since 2017.
The complaint also cited violations of Section 27 and 28 of the Republic Act 9275 (Clean Water Act 2004) for exceedance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) standards for wastewater parameter (oil and grease); operating without a valid wastewater discharge permit and permit to operate air pollution source and control installation; and for exceedance of the DENR standards for wastewater parameter (total suspended solids and for failure to secure wastewater discharge permit for the ice plant facility).
“We have filed this case to put an end to our suffering for years. We can no longer tolerate the smell and the flies causing our children to get sick,” Rosa said. Despite persistent efforts, the EMB-8 and Vice-Mayor Oñate failed to respond when sought to give comments on the complaint. By Marie Tonette Marticio