Mt. Bulusan rainforest is a key biodiversity area (KBA) with a very high rate of endemism.
This is the full statement of Save Mount Kanlaon Coalition (SMKC). It offers much insight to the Geothermal Question still hanging like an ominous cloud in Bulusan and neighboring towns for more than a year now since the historic Bulusan Anti Geo Rally of 2011.
May these collective voices enlighten the remaining few Pro Geo Bulusanons who are still dazzled of that Geo dream.
The SMKC stand on the Geothermal issue continues to reverberate to communities like Bulusan after this was published, July 2011.
“We at the Save Mt. Kanlaon Coalition and the Negros Environment Watch continue to relentlessly resist the EDC encroachment within the MKNP today, and we are strongly urging the government to put a stop to EDC’s operations. The EDC project violated certain provisions of our Constitution, which is the subject of the case we filed in court against the EDC, the local government units and the national government agencies concerned.
The Mt. Kanlaon Law which allows EDC to conduct its operations inside the MKNP was passed without properly observing the prescribed requirements of holding consultations with the affected sectors and stake holders during its preparation, thereby railroading the sanctity of the democratic process. This is in direct violation of the right of the people and their organizations to participate in governance; and other rights guaranteed by our constitution.
The EDC project has only succeeded to degrade a wide swath of Mt. Kanlaon, alter its boundaries, cut down thousands of old forest trees, destroy critical wildlife habitat, defy environmental laws, and eventually, wasted billions of pesos worth of public funds. Worse, EDC’s encroachment into the 169 hectare “buffer zone” of Mt. Kanlaon is patently illegal as the project’s 1995 ECC (Environmental Compliance Certificate) is not for the 169 hectares of primary forest but for areas described in the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement as 50% grassland and open areas, 32% cropland, and 18% secondary forest. (Note: Under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1586 establishing the Environmental Impact Statement System and Presidential Proclamation No. 2146 defining the scope of the system, Environmentally critical projects (ECPs) located in environmentally critical areas (ECAs) like a primary forest require an Environmental Impact Assessment to give said areas the highest protection especially from resource extractive activities.)
EDC has made a name for itself and for the Lopezes, both nationally and internationally, for its Green Energy projects and its partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, but contrary to this repution, EDC ‘s maintaining of its geothermal wells inside a “buffer zone” that is actually 169 hectares of primary forest with high biodiversity only perpetuates the continued rape of Mt. Kanlaon and of democracy itself.
In view of all these, we demand that EDC remove all of its civil works from the “buffer zone,” rehabilitate the area, and account or pay for the destruction perpetrated in Mt. Kanlaon and its environs. EDC should also turn-over the 169 hectare “buffer zone” to the MKNP PAMB, in compliance with Section 5, RA 9154, which states: “…areas within the buffer zone which shall not be used directly for the development and utilization of geothermal energy shall remain under the control and jurisdiction of the PAMB.”
We further call on our governor and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to terminate the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement with EDC and to require EDC to immediately discontinue its operations in the “buffer zone.” We also call on our Congressmen with the strong support of our governor and Provincial Sanggunian, to amend RA 9154 so that the 169 hectare “buffer zone” is re-established as part of the protected area of the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park, a correct buffer zone established outside of its perimeter, and the EDC is removed as a permanent member of the MKNP PAMB and PAMB Executive Committee.”
Signed in behalf of NEW and SMKC:
Fr. Aniceto Buenafe (SAC)
Fr. Ernie Larida (NEW)
Atty. Andrea Si (SMKC)
Delia Locsin (PsPN/Neg. Caucus)
Edwin Balajadia (PRRM-Negros)
Priscilla Goco (FDC-Negros)
Donato FlordeLiza (GreenWatch Phils.)