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JAC in violation of environment, public health laws

/ 01:49 AM June 04, 2012

We would like to clarify a recent Inquirer article (Inquirer, 5/19/12) that unfairly depicted Barangay Pinyahan residents opposed to the illegal tree-cutting and pollution of bus company JAC Liner as, among others, “informal settlers” and alarmists motivated by the threat of dislocation by the bus company’s expansion of its parking lot and construction of a refueling station.

First, we would like to point out that the residents of Mapagmahal Street are legitimate land title owners. Our family has been living in the area for over 45 years.

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Even if we were urban poor residents, do we not have a right to a healthful and balanced ecology as enshrined in the Constitution, regardless of our position in society? JAC’s depiction of us as informal settlers is a clear attempt to discredit us for our opposition to its environmentally destructive activities. The Inquirer reporter and editors should have verified with us.

Second, the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate and tree-cutting permit by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was illegal and irresponsible. There was no genuine consultation conducted with the residents to affirm the social acceptability of JAC’s projects. Residents have reported shady JAC operatives gathering signatures supposedly for entirely different purposes, which was most likely how the company got their 37 signatures from residents who purportedly approved the project.

Third, an outstanding cease and desist order was issued on the projects by the Quezon City government last May 8, 2012. JAC Liner’s projects have not been cleared by the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, one of the agencies that must issue a clearance for the projects, and it revoked JAC’s locational clearance. Why is JAC still using the mini urban forest as a parking area for its buses and for its construction workers’ barracks, with no proper waste disposal system to boot?

These illegally cut trees were our community’s buffer from the pollution and noise generated by Edsa’s traffic, our protection from the heat and rain, an oasis for a thriving bird population whose songs can now rarely be heard. Now, JAC further aggravates the situation with its 20 or more buses, diesel-guzzlers that emit toxic fumes into our homes and exposing us to at least 100 decibels of engine noise daily from 4-7 a.m. JAC is also using the area to train nine bomb-sniffing dogs that bark 24/7, of which only two are actually used in its operations. Clearly, JAC is in violation of laws on public health and safety, and environment conservation. Clearly, it must be stopped.

We fervently pray that the Inquirer publish this letter. Let the world know that there is hope yet for Mother Nature when people stand up against those who would destroy it.

—CELERINA N. CASTRO,

Barangay Pinyahan coordinator,

Kalikasan Party-list,

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[email protected]

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TAGS: environment, JAC Liner, Public Health, Transportation
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