By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
ACTIVISTS are organizing a demonstration in front of the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) next week in the hope of pressuring it to act against a coal-fired power plant and an oil palm plantation in Misamis Oriental.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and the lumad group Kalumbay have been mobilizing farmers and indigenes for the demonstration scheduled on Monday.
Ereneo Udarbe, KMP chairperson here, said residents of Mandangoa in Balingasag town were being adversely affected by the operations of a coal-fired power plant owned by independent power producer Minergy.
Udarbe alleged that the power plant has been responsible for air and water pollution in the town, claiming that it discharges its wastes into the sea at night.
“People are suffering there. Even fishermen are losing their livelihood,” said Udarbe, adding that townsfolk have also been exposed to health risks.
Udarbe said protesters would also demand that DENR act on the problem of Higaonons with the oil palm plantation of A Brown Co. in Barangay Tinggalan, Opol town.
According to Udarbe, former Environment secretary Regina Lopez issued a memorandum order to stop the operations of A Brown Co. in Opol over concerns about its environmental compliance and for operating there allegedly without proper public consultations.
He said the Higaonons have been claiming the area as part of theit ancestral domain.
DENR, according to Udarbe, has not implemented Lopez’s order.