CATARACT PATIENTS. At least 70 individuals, mostly poor and elderly, who are suffering from eye cataracts were served during a medical mission conducted by the An Taclobanon Association of Southern California Surgical Team at the Tacloban City Hospital on July 3-4. The said medical mission was in cooperation with the Tacloban city government. (TACLOBAN CITY INFORMATION OFFICE)

Solon claims Onate violates environmental laws

TACLOBAN CITY– Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez continues his criticisms against a town mayor for his alleged disregard of the environmental laws.

Gomez, representing Leyte’s fourth district, said that Mayor Ramon Oñate appears not to heed the appeal of his people for an environment and healthy-friendly operations of his poultry in Palompon town.

According to the solon, this is the reason why he called for a congressional investigation on the alleged environmental violations being committed by Oñate due to the operations of his poultry farm.

He said that the poultry farm of the town mayor has been in operation for the past 20 years now where its wastes go directly to a protected watershed.

“I only learned about these environmental violations of Mayor Oñate when I became a congressman because I received numerous complaints from the people of Palompon,” Gomez said on Wednesday.

He said that he immediately took a probe on this alleged violation of the mayor for the sake of the people of Palompon and other municipalities of the district, including Ormoc City which shares the watershed.

“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 said.

“That is why, I am here, standing up against this environmental violator,” he added.
He also accused the town mayor of ‘adjusting’ their comprehensive land use plan to ensure that the location of his poultry farm will not be included in the area identified as protected like the watershed.

Violeta Gumbang, a resident of Barangay San Joaquin, where the breeding farm in question is located, said that they are affected due to the operation of the said facility.
“Flies are all over. We cannot eat properly because of these flies. Our health is also affected due to the bad odor emitting from the plant,” she said.

Gomez clarified that he has nothing against Oñate and even said that if he will make the necessary measures not to harm the watershed due to the operations of his poultry farm, he will not question it.

The Leyte solon has earlier sought a congressional inquiry on this matter.

Oñate had earlier insisted that he did not commit any environmental violations as a result of the operation of his poultry farm located in Barangay San Joaquin.

He had said that he has all the documents secured from concerned government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources showing that it following environmental protection and laws.

The town mayor also said that contrary to the claim of the solon, the watershed is not affected due to the operation of their breeding farm as it is located over a kilometer away from their designated soil conditioner containment area.