SABLAN, Benguet – Concerned residents and indigenous peoples slammed the municipal government for allegedly issuing a certificate of no-objection to the proposed put up of a waste-to-energy project in the municipality by a renewable energy corporation without undergoing public consultations from all affected sectors.
Sources, who requested anonymity for personal and security reasons, questioned the municipal government for issuing a certificate of no-objection to the said environmentally critical project when there are still numerous issues that need to be addressed by the proponent, especially concerning its effects to the environment, the possible displacement of communities and the fact that Sablan will become the dumping ground of the tons of garbage of Baguio City.
The source claimed that there were public consultations conducted in the municipality with regards this said controversial project but these are not enough for the municipal government to issue the said certificate of no-objection because there are still valid issues and concerns to be raised aside and such certificate already allows the interested corporation to use the said document for its own purposes including seeking partners to beef up its capital for the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator.
Further, the source insisted that any development project to be implemented in the municipality should undergo the required free and prior informed consent (RPIC) process as provided under the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) considering that the waste-to-energy project will be implemented within the ancestral domain of the indigenous peoples of the municipality, thus, the issuance of the certificate of no-objection runs counter to the wisdom of the law.
According to the source, it seems that there is a grand design among concerned municipal officials and some Baguio |city officials to allegedly railroad the important requirements and processes for the implementation of the waste-to-energy project for their own personal and political interests considering certain promises of juicy contracts and the purchase of properties that will be affected by the said project, among others.
Another source added that based on random interviews with the people in various parts of the municipality, the common sentiment is that Sablan should not be made a dumping ground of garbage from other localities, like Baguio City, which is desperately looking for a permanent dump its increasing volume of generated solid waste.
What the municipal government should do, the source explained, is to start working on its long-term solid waste management program so that the situation in the municipality in the coming years will not be likened to the garbage crisis in Baguio City that is making city officials desperate in ramming into the throats of local officials in the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area their waste-to-energy project that suits their respective interests and not the interest of the affected communities.
The source rallied Sablan residents to be vigilant on the future developments of this unwelcome project so that they will be ready to initiate measures to prevent the municipality from becoming a dumping ground of Baguio’s garbage.