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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, February 17, 2017
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DENR probes Baciwa wells’ ECC compliance

          The Department of Environment and Natural Resources  is conducting an investigation to determine if the 56 wells of the Bacolod City Water District have the required environmental compliance certificates.

          Forester Lemuel Soriano, DENR Licences, Patents and Deeds Division chief, yesterday said their  investigation aims  to determine if Baciwa has been compliant with government policies.

          He clarified that there had been no cease-and-desist order issued to Baciwa yet, since they are in the process of investigation.

           But if the result of the investigation shows that Baciwa has been operating their wells without an ECC, they have no choice but to issue a CDO. Baciwa will be made to pay a penalty for each well operating without a CDO, amounting to about P5,000, Soriano said.

          Baciwa general manager Mario Macatangay said they are coordinating  withthe DENR  that is  inspecting  their facilities in the presence of one of their engineers.

          If, during the inspection, they discover that Baciwa has committed violations, the DENR will issue a notice of violation and give them time to answer. If their answer is substantial, he believes the notice will be lifted. But if it is not satisfied, they will penalize Baciwa, he said.

          Macatangay said that if the DENR finds that they have committed violation, they are willing to comply with whatever requirement it will impose on  them.

          He said they have an existing ECC,  but since they have additional facilities, they will have to amend it in order to incorporate these in their ECC.

          JenelynGemora, Baciwa assistant general manager for operations, said they  met with the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR yesterday.

           She said they are  securing their ECC because their new application for it was disregarded and  they have been advised by the DENR to have their existing ECC amended.

          Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasatayasaid he talked to DENR-Negros Island Region regional director Al Orolfoyesterday  on the matter.

          According to the DENR they are willing to sit down with Baciwathrough a technical conference, especially the Environment Management Bureau, to address some concerns, he said.      

          Gasataya said both parties should sit down as early as possible to prevent any further problem with regards to the operation of Baciwa.

          Baciwa has been receiving complaintsof  consumerswho experience intermittent water supply, how much more if there is no water? He asked.

          It is high timethat Baciwa  requests  DENR, through the EMB, for a technical conference and he hopes they will come up with solutions to the  situation, Gasataya said.

          He said he believes it is not the proper time to implement any CDO.  If there are some questions as  to the compliance of Baciwa with  its permit, a technical conference should first be conducted, he said.*CGS



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