By Jonathan L. Mayuga - February 22, 2017
ROCK Energy International Corp.—which operates a coal stockpile in Vitas, Tondo, Manila—is appealing to Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez to heed its call to lift the suspension of its environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
Carlo Fontanilla, managing director of Rock Energy, wrote a letter to Lopez on January 18 reiterating the company’s compliance of the conditions of the ECC issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In a statement, Fontanilla said the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau-National Capital Region (EMB-NCR), headed by Director Visminda Osorio, inspected the company’s coal facility several times, together with the EMB-Central’s Quick Response Team (EQRT) and other multisector groups.
“Both technical teams of EMB-NCR and the EQRT recommended the lifting of the suspension of our ECC. However, to date, our request is not being acted accordingly by Director Osorio of EMB-NCR,” Fontanilla said in his letter to Lopez.
“It is in view of the above that we are appealing to your office for immediate favorable action for the lifting of the suspension of Rock Energy ECC,” the Rock Energy official said.
Fontanilla also asked for a meeting with Lopez, preferably at the Vitas Industrial Estate, where their coal storage is located, “to personally appreciate that the temporary coal-storage area is not adverse but is rather an essential part of an efficient logistics supply chain to essential industries in nation-building.”
It was the second time Fontanilla sent a letter to Lopez. In his December 15, 2016, letter, the Rock Energy official said the company has fully complied with the specific conditions set forth in the notice of violation issued to them by the DENR-EMB.
Located at Lot 3-G Earnville, Vitas Industrial Estate in Vitas, Tondo, Rock Energy’s Mineral Products Storage and Handling Facility had been the subject of complaints by residents of Barangay 105, who claimed coal dusts from the facility have exposed them to serious health risks, such as respiratory diseases.
In response, the DENR suspended the firm’s ECC NCR-1405-0199 on June 24, 2015, effectively shutting down the stockyard.
Rock Energy said it has installed various pollution-control systems at the facility—more than what was required by the EMB—and that the inspection teams have recommended their reopening.
Rock Energy, a trading and logistics firm based in the Port Area, is mainly involved in coal and mineral distribution, supplying vital mineral resources to leading manufacturers in the country, such as cement and glass companies.