Municipal officials of Brooke’s Point have remained divided over the proposal to put up a 3.5-megawatt biomass power plant in the town, as councilors sought early this week to reject an endorsement issued to the project by the municipality’s Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) Board.
Councilor Georjalyn Joy O. Quiachon-Abarca said they viewed the ECAN endorsement to the project as premature because the project has not been endorsed by the municipal council.
“We need to cancel their previous endorsement from ECAN Board and must follow proper procedures,” Abarca said.
The project, which is being supported by Brooke’s Point Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano, will be put up in Barangay Tangub as is designed to supply electricity to Brooke’s Point and its neighboring towns. Feliciano had said she will endorse it because of their need for additional power supply.
The project, however, is being opposed by some councilors and was the subject of a petition against it signed by some 500 local individuals. They had warned that the project will cause pollution and could affect the local health situation.
The municipal council has been conducting public hearings about the project, even as its members expressed concern there has been little participation among local communities in the discussion of the project.
Councillor Jonathan Lagrada, chair of the committee on environment, said they were not satisfied with the turnout of residents in the consultations they conducted last month.
“Nakakalungkot dahil iilan lang ang dumalo. Ginawa naman namin ang part namin, nagpadalala kami ng invitation letter sa bawat baranggay specially sa mga direct concern. Subalit sa dalawang araw ng public consultation na isinagawa sa Brgay. Tubtob, Pangobilian at District 1 Ay halos 65 to 85 persons lang ang dumalo at halos tamang nakikinig lang din at si rin nagtatanong. ” SB Lagrada
The municipal council has also insisted that there should be a prior memorandum of agreement between Alibra Index Company that plans to undertake the project, and the local government units to ensure the company’s compliance with environmental safeguards. They are also pushing for the creation of an independent multi-sectoral monitoring team that will ensure the company’s compliance with environmental policies.
Palawan News tried to get the side of Mayor Feliciano but she has yet to respond to the issue.