Shakeup happened amid earlier calls of Rep. Gomez

TACLOBAN CITY– Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Loyzaga has implemented revamp of several regional directors of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its attached agency, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

And among those affected were the DENR executive regional director Arturo Fadriguela and EMB director Martin Despi, both in Eastern Visayas.

Taking the post of Fadriguela, who was assigned to Region 9, is Lormelyn Claudio who was from Mimaropa, while Despi was reassigned to Region 3 and was replaced by Wilson Trajeco.

The change of leadership came at a time as Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez (4th district) has previously called on Sec. Loyzaga to replace the DENR-MBG officials in the region amid his row with Palompon Mayor Ramon Oñate, who owns a poultry farm, DBSN.

According to the Leyte solon, the poultry farm owned by Oñate discharges its wastes directly to a major watershed in Palompon.

Gomez said that aside from polluting the environment, the improper discharge of wastes from DBSN has also resulted in health and sanitary problems among residents, particularly those residing in Barangay San Joaquin, where the poultry farm is located.

The lawmaker has earlier called for a congressional inquiry on this matter and also mulls filing a writ of kalikasan against the town mayor.

“I am very passionate about this environmental problem in our district because if this violation will not be acted accordingly, what will happen to our environment, especially in the fourth district of Leyte,” Gomez earlier said.

“That is why, I am here, standing up against this environmental violator,” he added.
Mayor Onate, for his part, denied the allegations of the congressman saying the watershed is not affected as it is located a kilometer away from his facility.

He also owns a 55,000-capacity chicken dressing plant in Albuera, also in Leyte.

The revamp issued by Sec. Loyzaga, citing ‘in the interest of public service’ as the reason, was issued on July 6 with both new officials of DENR and MGB in the region taking their posts on July 24.