BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered concerned departments of the local government to conduct a joint investigation on the environment and health hazards posed by the continuous operation of the controversial Camp 7 cement batching plant.
The local chief executive informed department heads he had been receiving many complaints over the past several years from the neighbors of the batching plant on the alleged nuisance caused by the facility, thus, the need for the local government to find other reasons on how to justify its closure.
“While the court declared the anti-batching plant ordinance as unconstitutional and that the case is still pending appeal before the Court of Appeals, other justifications could be use to close the power plant and address the concerns of the people living near the plant,” Domogan stressed.
The City Council earlier passed an ordinance prohibiting the operation of cement batching plants within the territorial jurisdiction of the city because of the health hazards that the plant poses and the negative impacts on the environment but a local court declared the said noble legislative measure as unconstitutional.
Domogan instructed personnel of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), City Building and Architecture Office (CBAO), City Health Services Office, City Permits and Licensing Division and the Baguio City Police Office to check on the compliance of the operator of the cement batching plant to existing rules and regulations related to health and environment hazards, as well as business, building and occupancy permits.
He instructed the concerned offices to recommend future actions related to cement batching plants to guide authorities since this has been the subject of numerous complaints that must be given primordial action by the local government.
Concerned residents living near the plant claimed the unregulated dust coming from the plant caused upper respiratory tract infection while the noise emanating from the plant disturbs the sleep of residents resulting to sleepless nights and anxiety.
Domogan stressed it is high time that the local government, through the concerned offices, take action on the legitimate concerns of these residents and show that the city is punishing violations of laws, rules and regulations.
He appealed to the affected residents to be firm in supporting their complaint against the batching plant as basis for the concerned departments to make the necessary recommendations for the eventual closure of the batching plant which is reportedly owned by a wealthy Chinese businessman, saying there is also a need for investigators to look into the encroachments made by the plant to portions of the river easement in the area.
By Dexter A. See