Alleged violation of Clean Water Act; P471K fine for each day violation

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Environment Management
Bureau (EMB) recently issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) against PHESCO Inc.’s Batching Plant in Sitio Monglo, Barangay Bayabas in Sablan, Benguet. The order issued to Robert T. Ynson, Jr. , President of Phesco Incorporated dated Nov. 11, 2022 was signed by Ma. Victoria Abrera, Regional Director of EMB-Cordillera.

“Based on inspection conducted by our technical personnel on October 18, 2022, you are still in continuing
defiance of the Cease-and- Desist Order issued by the Local Government of Sablan, Benguet, “ the order states. “Moreover, it was noted during the inspection that PHESCO INC. has not provided adequate silt traps to arrest concrete spillages emanating from your batching plant.

The concrete spillages flow into the roadside affecting the nearby drainage. This constitutes violation of Section 7 (a) of Republic Act No 975 ( Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004).” “ WHEREFORE, THIS OFFICE IS DIRECTING YOU TO CLEAN AND DESIST FROM FURTHER OPERATION OF YOUR BATCHING PLANT AT SITIO MONGLO, BARANGAY BAYABAS, SABLAN,BENGUET,” the order states.

The EMB-CAR has directed Phesco Inc. to conduct cleanup of the concrete spillages flow into the roadside
affecting the nearby drainage, and submit proof of compliance within seven days from the date of the order. Furthermore, the EMB- CAR has reminded that “persistent violation of Sect 7 (a) of RA 9275 will leave this office no alternative but to elevate the case to the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB).”

The government regulatory agency warned that “the maximum penalty of P471,589.54 for every day of
violation may be imposed by the PAB. Actually, the operation of the batching facility has been the subject of
complaints by concerned residents in the area. PHESCO INC. which operates the said batching facility, critical to the delivery of concrete materials to the project site , is the contractor of the P286-M Circumferential Road (Sablan) , a government road project.

It is to be recalled that in the Oct 2022 dialogue aims to thresh out the issue, Engr Robertson Bulan of
Phesco Inc. reported that his company have introduced safety, environmental and health measures in response to local officials earlier demand. In the same dialogue,Sablan Mayor Alfredo Dacumos Jr stressed that he is not against Phesco Inc.’s batching plant in their town but not to its present location –
presently located along the Quirino National Highway at Sitio Monglo in Barangay Bayabas.

Dacumos stressed that with or without a batching plant in (Sablan), Phesco Inc. should continue the project, clarifying that the municipal gov’t closure order should not be a cause of delay in the completion of the government project. Mayor Dacumos learned that PHESCO INC.’S batching facility in Sitio Monglo is
delivering concrete materials not only in its Circumferential Road Project in Sablan but also to other projects like in Baguio City.

Primo Agatep/ABN

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