The Truth About the Del PilarSteel Rolling Mill Project in Plaridel, Bulacan
In its paid advertisement on 04 July 2016, the Kalikasang Dalisay Para Sa Mamamayan Ng Plaridel (KP) recycled its malicious inaccuracies about the proposed rolling steel mill project (The Project) of Del PilarSteel, Inc. (The Proponent), a subsidiary of the SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation:
♣ KP alleged that the Project site is an agricultural area that is non-negotiable for conversion (pursuant to RA6657/RA9700) and with irrigation facilities, despite being presented with the facts:
√ The proposed Project site is the Grand Industrial Estate, classified since 1997 as INDUSTRIAL under the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of the Municipality of Plaridel, Bulacan.
√ The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) certified as early as 2012 that the site, which is within the Angat-Maasin River Irrigation System, is not irrigated and in fact on a “higher operating level as the canal.”
♣ KP irresponsibly and baselessly claims that extraction of water, “poses ecological imbalance, serious water use competition and risk of loss of livelihood.”
√ As reviewed in the Project’s Environmental Impact Analysis, the DENR Environmental Management Bureau did not cite any ecological imbalance due to water extraction. Rightfully so, because the mill is designed to use rainwater as its primary source of water.
√ The option to use Angat River water resources has been clearly defined in the Environmental Impact Analysis as downstream from those currently drawing from Angat (which include industrial, residential and agricultural entities) as listed by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).
√ The site is unoccupied and unused. Therefore, no jobs will be displaced by the Project. On the contrary, the operation of this manufacturing facility is seen to generate up to 3,000 new jobs.
♣ KP reiterated its false claim the Project proponent has done backfilling operations at the site that have caused flooding in nearby agricultural lands for three years.
√ Any land development work done at the Grand Industrial Estate was done prior to SteelAsia’s acquisition of the property.
√ No work has been done on site by the Project proponent; it remains undeveloped. This site has been visited by several government agencies, and KP themselves, to confirm this. DENR settled this issue with finality in its 2014 ruling that the Proponent has no violation of premature development/construction. Yet, KP continues to make this allegation. The Proponent is in the process of applying for a Development Permit, so it can start land development activities.
√ In fact, SteelAsia proposed a drainage solution to prevent flooding to those alleging this and volunteered to implement it at its own cost. But, it cannot do so because it has not secured its Development Permit from the Municipality of Plaridel.
♣ KP made misleading statements to the effect that the proximity of the Project site to populated areas is somehow a negative.
√ As reviewed in the Project’s Environmental Impact Analysis, the DENR Environmental Management Bureau did not cite any pending health or safety issue.
√ On the contrary, the population will benefit with job generation, new business opportunities and increased economic activity. The Project’s community will be a direct beneficiary of its proximity.
√ The proposed Project is SteelAsia’s 7th mill. All its other 6 mills coexist harmoniously with its communities which are in fact much more populated than Plaridel. To cite SteelAsia’s Davao Plant in Bgy Bunawan as not near a population is an insult to Barangay Bunawan. In fact, Barangay Bunawan in Davao City has nearly 3 times the population of Barangay Parulan in Plaridel.
In their ad, they misled President Duterte and the public with their maliciously inaccurate statements. They represent themselves as the Plaridel community but, in fact, they are merely a terrorizing minority made up those signatories of their ad, including Bert Garcia, Rico Lacia, Erica Bersalote, Liza Sacdalan, Reynaldo Esguerra, Bernie Soliman, Jimmy Tadeo, Dionel Ramos, Rowie Dalisay Garcia, Elmer Ignacio, Rico Trinidad, Ambet dela Cruz, Pol Evangelista III, Efren Basco and Jose Oliveros, who could all be held liable under the Philippines’ Penal Law for these malicious statements.