Water district questions issuance of ECC to housing project near Agusan watershed

Opposition has stepped up against a 4-hectare housing project being developed in this Agusan del Sur on sloping land inside the one-kilometer buffer zone of the Mount Magdiwata watershed.

9/25/2021 6:57:00 PM

Opposition has stepped up against a 4-hectare housing project being developed in this Agusan del Sur on sloping land inside the one-kilometer buffer zone of the Mount Magdiwata watershed.

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur, Philippines — Opposition has stepped up against a 4-hectare housing project being developed in this town on sloping land inside the one-kilometer buffer zone of

The SFWD board of directors has passed a resolution strongly opposing the project and called for the revocation of ECC No. ECC-OL-R13-2021-0113 dated June 9 issued to Marrea Estates.According to Arcamo, however, an ECC is not a permit but rather a set of conditions that the developer will have to comply with before starting work on the project.

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“The ECC is therefore not a license for any project proponent to undertake the activity they sought to operate as they will have to secure permits from other concerned government agencies,” Arcamo explained in his letter to SFWD.The DENR in Caraga has admitted their fault in failing to inform the San Francisco municipal government of the resumption of the ECC application of Marrea Estates.

Citing a DENR memorandum circular, Arcamo maintained that permits or clearances were no longer necessary in processing the ECC. But he said stakeholders and concerned government agencies, like the SFWS, would be required to take part in the presentation of the result of the Environmental Impact Assessment, which is the basis for an ECC issuance. headtopics.com

Luzon rebuked Arcamo, pointing out the location of the project in an area classified as environmentally critical based on the geohazard assessment of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).The project site, Luzon also noted, is categorized under areas with a critical slope, recharge area of aquifer, and water bodies based on a memorandum issued by the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR.

ADVERTISEMENTConcerned residents expressed alarm over the massive flooding in the town center brought about by Tropical Depression Vicky on Dec. 18 last year. They said it could have been triggered by the clearing of the sloping land even as no ECC had been issued at that time.

One resident, John Columban Paredes, showed on a geological map of the town how water cascaded down a slope that a bulldozer had cleared, submerging outlying communities at the foot of the mountain.Julito Cerna Pacna, a 57-year-old Manobo tribesman in San Isidro, recalled that in the past “the bulk of water coming from Mt. Magdiwata watershed during rains would just slowly cascade following the natural waterways and creeks.”

Mardie Para, the project engineer of Maria Estates, explained that there were no creeks when they first visited the area. But there were deep portions where the water flowed had been bulldozed by the previous developer who sold the area to Maria Estates. headtopics.com

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“We have no intention to destroy the environment and the lives of people living below. We enter the area in good faith,” Para said.But Bonifacia Arevado, a resident of the area, insisted there was a creek inside the area where they used to wash their clothes and take a bath.

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