Owner maintains not violating laws
TACLOBAN CITY– The complainants against a poultry farm accused of violating environmental laws claimed victory after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducted its excavation amid a report that it was burying its hazardous and toxic materials.
The complainants, speaking through their lawyer Lloyd Surigao, said that they are positive that they would be served justice on their complaints against the DBSN Farms Agriventures Corp.
DBSN is owned by the family of Mayor Ramon Oñate of Palompon, Leyte, and is said to be one of the biggest poultry farms in the country with 100,000 of eggs production a day.
“They have been complaining against DBSN since 2018 and were just ignored (by the management). The operation has not only resulted in their health problems but even affected their main source of drinking water,” Surigao said in a press conference Thursday (Jan.27), this city.
“For us, this is a huge victory for the regular citizens who staunchly stood against their mayor whose family owns the DBSN,” Surigao added.
Surigao claimed that the complainants involved several residents of Barangay San Joaquin, where the poultry farm of the DBSN is located.
The complainants alleged that toxic and hazardous wastes like used medicine bottles, plastic drums, chicken parts, chicken droppings, and dead chickens were being buried inside the farm and in most cases, within the watershed portion.
To recall, last Jan.21 a team from the DENR conducted an excavation activity inside the DBSN compound, particularly at Lot 5150 where a forest area and a watershed area, which has springs that serve as sources of drinking water of the residents of San Joaquin and nearby villages, is located.
The watershed area was made possible under Presidential Proclamation 212.
The team collected some bottles of mineral water, empty cans, and ‘foul and black’ water. These were subjected to some laboratory examinations.
But in an earlier interview, Mayor Oñate maintained that they did not violate any environmental laws, particularly RA 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018 which prohibits any dumping of any toxic chemical, noxious, or poisonous substance in any protected area like a watershed.
In fact, he said, during the excavation, the DENR did not find any items that could be said to be toxic or hazardous.
He also stressed that there is no protected area located within the 19-hectare DBSN.
“I feel vindicated. They have not found anything inside the premises of any hazardous and infectious wastes, not even a candy wrapper or a single needle,” he said during the Jan.21 media conference.
But Surigao said that this statement of Oñate was a ‘deliberate lie intended to mislead the public.’
He also maintained that dumping of any material in a protected area is illegal as provided under RA 11038.
JOEY A. GABIETA