BOLINAO, Pangasinan, March 20 (PNA)– Townsfolk here are up in arms against a hatchery cum eco-tourism project proposal of an aqua-feeds manufacturer to be built in Barangay Patar, Bolinao, which is well-known for its white sand beach.
Margaret Celeste, chairperson of the Bolinao Concerned Citizens Inc. (BCCI), brought this issue, now being discussed in the town council, in the social media to inform the people of Bolinao and of Pangasinan what is going on.
Although the matter is still being finalized, Celeste alleged that the project proponent, Feedmix Specialist Inc., II, already constructed a “big building,” initially thought as residential, without securing any building permit.
“When the village officials inquired about this, they were told that it will be a Feedmix hatchery project,” she said in her post.
She added, “How can we trust their sincerity that they will not destroy our pristine beaches if they even do not bother to follow (the law on) simple building permit!”
The BCCI head also posted copies of different technical comments of Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Enviromental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Region 1 and the Bolinao Marine Laboratory (BML) on the project proposal.
The response document of DENR-EMB Region 1, dated September 20, 2013, to the request of the local government unit of Bolinao for technical opinion regarding the project stated that the project will “extensively use coastal waters on it various stages of operation.”
It noted, “The hatchery is estimated to produce a daily wastewater of 70-80 cubic meters, and 12-13% of their solid waste is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable. The proponent is also projecting an influx of local and international tourists which might as well contribute to the rapid accumulation of solid wastes in the municipality.”
This was supported by the Deputy Director of BML, Ronald Villanueva, in his technical comments on the project development and management plan of “The Hatchery”- Eco-Learning Adventures, a Corporate Social Responsibility Project by the Research and Development Team of Feedmix.
He said that the daily discharge of 70 to 80 cubic meters of waste water can have “significant effects on coastal water salinity” of Patar “despite the water treatment facility that will be supposedly built.”
The proposed organisms to be produced at the facility include freshwater (e.g., tilapia) and seawater (e.g., bangus) species. However, there is lack of information regarding how seawater will be sourced and discharged,” he also noted.
Villanueva also cited that the total lot area to be used for the project is 34,609 square meters yet the lease contract for the proposed site indicates smaller area, that is, 25,280 square meters.
BML is the official marine station of the Marine Science Institute (MSI) of the University of the Philippines (UP)
THE BML OFFICIAL ALSO NOTED THAT THE TARGET COMMUNITY FOR THE PROJECT SHOULD BE THOSE AT THE AQUACULTURE AREA YET SUCH INTENTION MIGHT BE JEOPARDIZED SINCE THE PROPOSED SITE IS WITHIN THE ECOTOURISM ZONE.
A SANGGUNIANG BAYAN RESOLUTION NO. 2005-60, DATED OCTOBER 12, 2005, DECLARED BARANGAYS ILOG-MALINO AND PATAR AS “SPECIAL ECO-TOURISM AREA” IN THE MUNICIPALITY.
THE DECLARATION SHOULD ABATE FURTHER PROLIFERATION OF ILLEGAL ENCROACHMENT TO THE SALVAGE ZONE/BEACH AREAS, AND WILL FACILITATE AVAILMENT OF TOURISM PRIORITY PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM FOR THE EVENTUAL IMPROVEMENT OF THE FAST BECOMING TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN THE MUNICIPALITY,” THE RESOLUTION STATED.
“EVEN THE TECHNICAL PEOPLE ARE ONE WITH US ON THEIR CONCERNS WHICH YOU WILL READ ON THE DOCUMENTS…WE DO NOT OPPOSE WITHOUT STUDYING THE MATTER,” CELESTE SAID.