A team from the Community Environment and Natural Resources office (CENRO) in Talibon will conduct an onsite survey on the mangrove area of barangay Cruz in the town of Buenavista today after the reported massive cutting of mangroves.
This follows after the first round of inquiry conducted on Monday by the Committee on Environment of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regarding the cutting of mangroves in the area.
Gov. Edgar Chatto said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan conducts a separate inquiry “to educate the Boholanos regarding the activity”.
“This is because protection of the environment is a priority concern of the Boholano people and the entire province, in the same way that we stood together in issues about coal and other activities that affect the environment and natural resources”.
The SP Committee on Environment initiated the investigation after a report reached the provincial officials that some individuals have started cutting mangroves in barangay Cruz, Buenavista in preparation for a proposed shipyard project.
SP Member Agapito Avenido, chair of the SP Committee on Environment, led the investigation, together with with Board Members Ricky Masamayor, Abel Damalerio and Romulo Cepedoza.
Other officials who attended the investigation included Buenavista Mayor Dave Duallo, PENRO Eusalem Quiwag, Tata Ganub of Bohol Environment Management Office, representatives of CENRO-Talibon and Civil Society Organization.
During the investigation, representatives of CENRO-Talibon showed a video footage of the extent of the mangrove cutting activity and the portion that has been turned into a barren area in coastal waters of barangay Cruz, Buenavista.
It was also reported during the investigation that residents in the area refused to divulge who were those who did the actual cutting of the mangroves and who were behind the activity.
The initial investigation, however, tends to look into the involvement of Concrete Solutions, Inc. as it was the one that had applied for clearances and permits for its proposed construction of a shipyard or dry dock in the area.
CENRO-Talibon, however, reported that the company had earlier denied the allegation that it had been behind the cutting of mangroves in barangay Cruz.
Representative of the Civil Society Organization, Emilia Roslinda, PROCESS Foundation executive director and point person of Bohol Alliance of Non-Government Organizations (BANGON)-Bohol, vowed to never let up on the investigation on the mangrove cutting in Buenavista until ascertaining who would be liable for the illegal activity.
On the other hand, the local government unit of Buenavista just welcomed a Japanese company, Aoyama Jatropha Trading Corporation (AJTC), that plans to undertake reclamation of 40 hectares of its seawaters in barangay Asinan for its multi-million-peso processing plant.
In fact, Philippine Reclamation Authority General Manager and CEO Janilo Rubiato and the AJTC CEO Isao Aoyama had just signed on April 13, the memorandum of collaboration for the reclamation component of the Bohol Jatropha Processing Project.
The signing of the MOA was on the matter of application by Aoyama Jatropha Trading Corporation with PRA for the reclamation component of their Bohol JatrophaProcessing Project.
Through the memorandum of collaboration, AJTC is given one year to secure all requirements, including that from the local government unit.
Securing the endorsements and clearances from municipal LGU, province and national agencies such as DENR, PPA and others will be done only after the signing of the memorandum of collaboration as they have the corresponding requirements, too.
Rubiato assured AJTC will be required to strictly follow the requisites for a reclamation project that is needed for the area that will house a 40-hectare Jatropha processing plant in barangay Asinan, Buenavista.
Rubiato assured that AJTC will be closely monitored in its compliance with the environmental standards set by law and be required to submit a geohazards study to ensure that impact to the environment is minimized.
The project includes a port component that can accommodate a panamax vessel which usually has a dimension of “110 feet wide, 1,050 feet long, and 41.2 feet depth.
To reclaim a 40-hectare area, it will require 3.2 million cubic meters of filling materials.
Part of the filling materials will be taken from the seabed, especially from the navigational approach channel that will be dredged to be able to accommodate large vessels like the panamax vessels.