Tamugan folks, concerned groups urge DENR to cancel Hedcor’s compliance certificate

Apr. 27, 2009

The Tamugan Farmer’s Association (Tafa), a member of the Farmers Association of Davao City (Fadc) demands the cancellation of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) granted Hedcor Tamugan Incorporated (HTI) last March 17, 2009.

“The DENR has decided to issue Hedcor an ECC despite the environmental hazards that Hedcor’s hydropower project poses on the Tamugan-Panigan watershed and despite the Davao City Watershed Code. The DENR has now become an accessory to the looming destruction of our precious water resource,” said Nemie Divinagracia, Tafa-Fadc chairperson.

Tafa has been circulating a petition opposing Hedcor’s project and has so far collected more than 100 signatures from the residents of Brgy Tamugan and Bgry, Gumalang.

This initiative has been supported by Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao. The group recently forwarded to chief justice Reynato Puno a People’s Environmental Agenda, which includes a signed resolution opposing the hydroelectric project.

The United Church of Christ of the Philippines – Semjur, through the leadership of Bishop Constante Doronio Claro, also forwarded to the Davao City council a pastoral letter that similarly opposes the project.

Meanwhile, Francis Morales, convener of the environmental rights network Panalipdan-SMR echoed the call of the local farmer’s group, citing that the Watershed Code must be upheld and fully implemented to defeat any attempt by Hedcor to push through with the project.

“We fear that this project is already a done deal since it falls within the framework of Arroyo’s Philippine Energy Plan, the core of which is the corporatization and privatization of the energy industry rather than nationalization, which is in fact the key to the country’s genuine development,” Morales said.

Morales further lambasts DENR over the lack of strong basis for awarding Hedcor with an ECC.

“We find it ridiculous that the DENR has granted the ECC to Hedcor on the grounds that GMA paid a visit to the Hedcor’s Sibulan project and on a very technical justification that the ECC is a mere ‘planning tool’ which should not be withheld from Hedcor,” Morales decried.

Morales challenges the DENR to prove and show the public an environmental impact assessment (EIA), a requirement that must be complied with for all development projects.

“Basing the awarding of the ECC on a mere initial environmental examination (IEE) shows how lax, how negligent the DENR is in its mandate to protect the environment,” Morales said.

On the celebration of the International Earth Day on April 22, residents from Brgy. Tamugan, Gumalang together with other environmental advocates from Davao City will march to the streets to protest the project. #

For reference:

Mr. Francis Morales, PANALIPDAN – SMR Convener/Spokesperson
0928- 2841005
TAFA Secretariat
Mr. Nemie Divinagracia, Tafa chairperson

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