By Raymund F. Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo has aligned herself against the hydroenergy project inside the Mt. Isarog Natural Park in Camarines Sur, taking her opposition to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Robredo wrote a formal letter last week to Environment Secretary Regina Lopez to complain about the renewable energy plant, asking her to shed light on the issues involving the project.
“This is like a letter of complaint, at the same time a letter of inquiry on what really had happened,” the Vice President said in an interview in Naga City over the weekend.
The DENR granted the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), signed by its former regional director Gilbert Gonzales in November, 2009, to Clean and Green Energy Solutions.
Under the project, a 1.5-megawatt mini-hydro plant is being constructed for a year now inside the Mt. Isarog Natural Park. It faces stiff opposition from environmentalists and netizens.
Robredo sought an explanation from Lopez on certain issues regarding the project.
One of them was the reported expiration of the ECC, which was only valid for five years.
“The permit being showed to build the hydroenergy plant is a 2009 permit. That permit and ECC I heard have validity for five years. If that is indeed true, they should have lapsed,” the Vice President said.
“There may be other parameters, but we would wait for the reply from the DENR,” she added.
The former housing chief expressed concerns that the renewable energy plant is being put up at Mt. Isarog at the expense of nature and the environment.
In her letter, Robredo wished to inquire on DENR about the flooding in Calabanga town, also in Camarines Sur, which was caused by quarrying operations in its mountain.
She noted the negative impacts of quarrying in Legazpi, Albay, where two of its forested mountains were also devastated.