Congressional inquiry sought on delay of HRP approval
MEMBERS of the Apo Union of Employees have asked the House Committees on Natural Resources and Labor and Employment to conduct a joint inquiry on why the hazard reduction plan (HRP) of the company remains pending before the Office of the Civil
Art Barrit, spokesperson of the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), said the two committees have already agreed to schedule an inquiry to find out the impediments in implementing the hazard reduction plan despite a “favorable recommendation from the Environment department.”
“Ang workers of Cemex requested the ALU nga naa untay pressure on the part of the government to implement the hazard reduction plan. The hazard reduction plan is still pending despite the favorable recommendation of the MGB. Gihangyo nila ang kapunongan nga mo-conduct og joint house inquiry on why wa pa mapirmahi,” Barrit said.
(The workers of Cemex requested ALU to put a pressure on the government to implement the hazard reduction plan. They appealed to the federation (ALU) to conduct a joint house inquiry on why it is not yet signed.)
Barrit said Cebu City South district Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa, chair of the Committee on Natural Resources, and ALU-TUCP Representative Raymond Mendoza, member of the Committee on Labor and Employment, have already agreed to file a resolution calling for the inquiry.
“Although the inquiry was not calendared yet as of yesterday (November 26), there is really a plan. The two committees have already agreed with that,” Barrit said.
Without the hazard reduction plan approved, Apo Land and Quarry Corp. (ALCQ), Apo’s sister company and main raw material supplier, cannot resume operations yet.
During his visit in Cebu last week, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu asked Apo Cement to construct a risk mitigating structure in the periphery of the landslide and take away the debris that continue to endanger the community.
However, the debris that will be hauled from the landslide area cannot be processed by Apo Cement as their raw material for cement.
“The risk will still be there kung ibalhin lang nimo. The solution will be to process it, mapahimuslan pa nga dili maglay off. Dapat ma-process ang yuta,” Jose Ramas, Jr., the union’s vice president said.
Aside from the house inquiry, the Apo employees will also stage a protest in front of the regional office of the Department of Environment and natural Resources (DENR-7) today, November 28.
Ramas said the rally would call on the DENR to let ALQC resume its operation and prevent the employees of Apo Cement from losing their jobs.
Apo Cement has already served the notice of temporary layoff to 30 percent of its regular employees and 40% of its contractual workers “due to the cost pressures of having to source their materials elsewhere in the country and abroad.”
“Mao gyud na among giampo nga di lang unta moabot na adlawa. December 13. Mao na nga naa mi ipahigayon nga rally. Wa gyud mi pasko tingali kung madayon gyud ning layoff,” said Ramas, an area engineer of Apo Cement.
Although he admitted that they “asked help” from Apo Cement and ALU-TUCP in their rally, Ramas maintained that they are not being used by the management for the activity.
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