Pandan Antique Philippines

Appeal to Congressman Henry Lanot

January 01, 2001

The Honorable Henry Lanot
Pasig City Congressman

Dear Sir:

I’ve heard of you because Rosemarie Salvador is my younger sister. I also met your wife last June when she came for Keith Salvador’s wedding with her uncle, Carlos, Rosemarie’s husband.

This letter is a plea for your help. As congressman of Pasig, you are an influential figure in the political arena. As a lawyer, your sense of justice is unquestionable. As Rosemarie’s close acquaintance, I don’t feel intimidated to approach you and appeal to your sense of fairness and compassion.

I am not sure if you have heard of Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) plan to use Semirara Island of Antique as its dumpsite for Metro Manila’s garbage starting this January 2001. Mr. Aventajado and Mr. Binay are the proponents for the dumpsite. Despite signed petitions and resolutions from the all the municipalities of the province of Antique opposing the dumpsite, Mr. Aventajado and Mr. Binay are still bent on dumping Metro Manila’s garbage on the island. In fact, they had barges waiting for the dump trucks at Pier 18 last December 29 to carry 4000 tons of garbage on a 3-day, 385-kilometer trip to Semirara, even when at the two public hearings conducted on December 15 and December 22 in San Jose, Antique, the people vehemently castigated the dumpsite. It was the Antiqueños’ Temporary Restraining Order that stopped the activity. Mr. Aventajado flew to San Jose, Antique, the following day to persuade Governor Javier and board members to change their mind. His plea was met with vehement refusal again, but Gov. Javier quoted Aventajado as telling him that MMDA would resort to a “national course of action” so it can proceed with using Semirara as its dumpsite.

Jancom Environmental Corporation (JEC) sued Aventajado and MMDA Chair Binay on December 29 for ignoring the Pasig Regional Trial Court’s order not to invite bids for any waste disposal project. JEC asked the Pasig RTC to declare them in contempt for awarding the contract to the DMCI-Celdex R-II builders consortium.

If you wonder why I’m passionate about this Semirara dumpsite issue, it is because Rosemarie and I were born and raised in Pandan, Antique. Our hometown is only a few kilometers away from Semirara. As a marine turtle sanctuary, and its neighboring island of Caluya a bird sanctuary as declared by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Semirara needs to be protected from environmental exploitation. The islanders’ fishing industry and Boracay’s tourist industry will be ruined. Semirara Coal Corporation, owned by DMCI, has already been cited by DENR as having violated environmental and labor laws on the island.

Rosemarie told me that you have your roots in Mindoro—another incentive for me to seek your help since Semirara is close to Mindoro also. Please help us find a way to stop the Semirara dumpsite from becoming a reality. Whatever help and support you can extend to us will be invaluable and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

(SGD.) Thelma M. Ramos
Washington, USA