On DBSN poultry farm issue

TACLOBAN CITY– A lawyer has reminded Mayor Ramon Oñate of Palompon, Leyte that his poultry farm is located within a forest reserved area which should not be used as a dumping ground.

Lloyd Surigao said that the forest reserved area of the town was created under Presidential Proclamation 212 which was even used by the municipal government when it drafted its comprehensive land use plan and forest land use plan.

Surigao made this reminder in reaction to an earlier statement of Oñate who has maintained that his DBSN farm is not located within a protected area.

The DBSN poultry farm, owned by the family of Oñate, is now a subject of complaints by local residents as represented by Surigao, of alleged environmental violations.

They claimed that the DBSN poultry farm dumps its ‘hazardous and toxic materials’ within the compound, polluting a watershed area located within the farm.

But this claim is being disputed by Oñate.

“May I remind the mayor of the existence of Presidential Proclamation 212 which created the Palompon Watershed Forest Reserve. This is the same PWFR that he used when the LGU drafted its CLUP (Comprehensive Land Use Plan), the same PWRF used as a reference in the FLUP (Forest Land Use Plan) that his office filed with the DENR-8. So, his statements are inconsistent and illogical,” Surigao said during a press conference on Thursday (Jan.25) here in the city.

Meanwhile, Surigao said that the residents of Barangay San Joaquin, where the DBSN poultry farm is located, were happy after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducted an excavation inside the DBSN as part of its investigation that it is dumping ‘hazardous and toxic materials.’

“The decision of the Regional Trial Court Branch 45 permitting the search and excavation of several areas of the Palompon Protected Watershed being occupied by the poultry farm is a huge victory for our clients, regular citizens, who have taken a staunch stand against the mayor of their town, whose family owns DBSN. These people are outranked in power and influence, and yet they stood their ground to defend their survival,” the lawyer, who represents the residents of a complaint against DBSN, said.

Surigao also claimed that the controversy surrounding the continued operation of the DBSN poultry farm is a battle between ‘logic’, which is sufficiently backed by evidence, and ‘lies’, which is being propagated by Oñate.

“This is a battle between logic and lies which could drag on for years due to legal maneuverings,” he admitted.

Surigao also cited alleged inconsistencies in the statements and actions of Mayor Oñate during a hearing at the House of Representatives on the controversy, where he invited congressmen to do an ocular inspection of the DBSN site to disprove the allegations of illegal dumping of chicken and other solid wastes, but used government resources to stop the DENR from checking the farm site.

“He deliberately used LGU vehicles to block the barangay road and even sent his employees as human barricades. Mayor Oñate’s words contradict his action,” he said.