The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) denied Monday the allegations that it is deliberately withholding and delaying the issuance of the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance of the Lapu-Lapu/Montible rivers water expansion project.
Nelson Devanadera, PCSD Staff executive director, said they already had a “series of communication exchange” with PPCWD general manager Antonio Romasanta since the application for the water expansion project was submitted to their office in 2016.
However, Devanadera said the water district did not give a detailed explanation for its water system, as an alternative option to the present Irawan River water source.
“Hindi tumagal ‘yon, [ang dahilan ay] hindi sila makapagpaliwanag nang maaayos. Lagi may exchange of communication, three times we met… hindi acceptable pa ‘yong mga paliwanag. Hindi ‘yan sinasabing 2016 dinelay-delay [lang]. Walang katotohanan doon,”he said.
He pointed out that the Irawan watershed was not managed properly by PPCWD, especially with houses surrounding the area.
He said they only want to ensure the viability of the project before issuing the SEP clearance to the water project in Lapu-Lapu and Montible rivers.
During the regular session of the City Council on Monday, Councilor Roy Ventura said he requested the presence of the PCSD to explain the alleged “intentional withholding” of the issuance of SEP clearance to the PPCWD for the project it is eyeing to provide ample water supply for the consumers.
“Gusto lang po naming linawin at malaman ang lahat ng katotohanan kung ano ba ang nangyari sa application ng Puerto Princesa Water District dahil po alam ninyo rin na kayo ay apektado rin ng supply ng tubig dito sa Puerto Princesa. Gusto ko rin lang maliwanagan kung bakit tumagal ang papeles ng Water District. 2016 daw nila isinumite sa inyong opisina, mukhang ngayong taon lang lumalabas ang mga issue na ‘yan o nakaraang taon… ang tanong ko lang po ay kung bakit tumagal nang ganoong tatlong taon,” Ventura said.
Devanadera noted that the water firm is concerned mainly on three things: ecological integrity, economic viability, and social acceptability.
The proposed alternative water source will not suffice the current consumption of the growing population of the city so it is ‘feasible.’
Devanadera said they conducted a “diligent evaluation” of the project of PPCWD and “has determined its lack of integrity and that the feasibility cannot be ascertained.”
He added that they sent a copy of the evaluation to the water agency in 2015 but has not received a reply.
They already secured an Environmental Compliance Clearance (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), it will be the SEP Clearance that will give them the permission in order for them to proceed to their project operations, he also said.
Devanadera said there has been no formal denial, nor disapproval of the application.
We are asking PPCWD look for other possible options, he said.
“Sabi namin [sa the same letter], ‘Having exhausted all due considerations, we suggest to explore other possible options and present that to the council to prove the worthiness of the project given the magnitude of the cost vis-à-vis the total potential of the infrastructure.’ Ito ay communicated October 15, 2015,” he said.