'Save Sibonga Coalition'

Civic organization opposes planned cement manufacturing plant project in Sibonga

By: Wenilyn B. Sabalo - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | June 19,2022 - 04:53 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A civic and social organization in Sibonga, Cebu is actively opposing the realization of a planned cement manufacturing plant project in Barangay Sabang, in the coastal town of Sibonga, saying that the project brings more disadvantage than benefits to the locals in the area.

Fe Abiera, member of the board of trustees of Unifying Sectoral Responses for Environmental Protocols in Sibonga (USREPS), said their organization is protesting against the proposed cement manufacturing plant, quarry, and pier project of a certain cement plan industry in their place in Sibonga on the grounds of damage and destruction to the environment, health factors, risk to life, water sources depletion, and farmer displacement as a result of the project.

She said USREPS, which has 64 active members, is now working to organize a coalition to be named “Save Sibonga Coalition.”

CDN Digital is withholding the name of the cement plant company pending their comment on the issue.

Included in the said project is the 16-hectare cement plant area, which includes a crushing plant, to be built in Barangay Sabang; the 410.47 hectares mining claim area in Barangays Sabang, Mangyan, and Candaguit, and a 2.2 hectares pier area in Sabang, Sibonga.

Meanwhile, a public hearing for the permit to operate between the purok leaders of Barangay Sabang and the private proponent of the project took place on Sunday, June 19, 2022. The same public hearing was also attended by members of the board of trustees of USREPS.

contributed photo

“At this point in time, nag process na sila karon sa ilang permit to operate. Dugay na ni silang nag-apply sa ilang mining application since 2005 pa. Daghang giagian. Ning-abot na sila sa panahon nga mo-operate na g’yod sila kay halos kompleto na sila sa mga legal documentary requirements,” Abiera told CDN Digital.

“Pero since 2005, pagsugod nila ani og apply, 2005, gisugdan na pod namo ni og supak. Nagsugod mi’g supak 2005. Nag public hearing sila at that time tungod sa (issuance of) ECC nga muagi og social acceptability. Didto pa lang sa public hearing adtong mga panahona, kahibalo na sila nga daghan kayong supak,” she added. ECC stands for Environmental Compliance Certificate, which the company has already secured from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Environmental Management Bureau. Aside from technical development plans, Abiera claimed that the private company, proponent of the project, has presented social development plans to the community including employment and revenue shares during the public hearing. However, she said, they are not buying it.

“Daghan wala na educate or na inform og unsa’y pros and cons sa cement factory… In terms of employment, kinsa ra may mo-qualify? Diri sa amoang barangay kinsa may skilled kaayo nga maka-operate dinha sa cement factory. Maka-sustain ba ang ilang gi-offer nga employment sa mga tawo sa Sabang?” she said.

She also questioned the stand of the local government unit of Sibonga on the issue as she claims the LGU has already endorsed the project after its 25 barangays have already made an endorsement in favor of the project to the municipality sometime in 2006 and 2007.

In 2020, Abiera said they wrote their second petition letter to DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu and the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.


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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, quarry, Sibonga

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