By Louise Maureen Simeon and Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 12, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has allowed SMC Consolidated Power Corp. (SMCCPC) to move its stockpile out of its Bataaan facilities.
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said she would immediately approve a transport permit for the stockpiles to be removed out of the area to prevent further damage to the host community in Limay where the Petron Bataan Refinery (PBR) is located.
“The problem is they do not have the permit to move it out and DENR is in a position to give the permit and I will give it so we get the ash out,” Lopez said in a briefing yesterday.
“They have to submit a formal request now and we will give it to them as soon as possible,” Environment Undersecretary Arturo Valdez said.
Valdez added the company would need to disclose where it plans to put the stockpiles once the permit is granted.
San Miguel Corp. president Ramon S. Ang met with Lopez yesterday to defend the group from allegations of ash spill coming from the facilities of its subsidiaries SMCPC and Petron Corp.
Ang said the allged coal ash spill was actually lime powder and never reached the nearby Alangan River.
“What we need is an ore transport permit from DENR. If we secure that, we don’t need an ash pond. (Because) whatever we generate everyday, we haul this to the cement plant, we sell it,” Ang said, noting the limestone powder is being used as a raw material in producing cement.
The Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR is responsible for the implementation of various environmental laws, rules and regulations, including Presidential Decree 1586 or the law establishing the Environmental Impact Assessment System that requires an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
The EMB said it was inclined to issue a new order against PBR “considering the most recent reports and information on the alleged skin diseases caused by the dumping of bottom ash at SMCCPC’s facility.”