Pandan Antique Philippines

A Manifestation of Opposition to the Proposed Establishment of the Garbage Dumping Site in Semirara Island, Caluya, Antique.


A Manifestation of Opposition to the Proposed Establishment of the Garbage Dumping Site in Semirara Island, Caluya, Antique.

We, the People of Antique, wishes to convey our vehement opposition to the establishment of the Garbage Dumping/Landfill Site in Semirara Island, Municipality of Caluya, Antique due to the following reasons:

1. We believe that Semirara Island, specifically the coal-mining site is not an ideal garbage dumping or landfill site.

The proposed site, a former open pit mine has an unstable foundation ,thus, giving rise to the scenario that landslides are not far to happen. Moreover, the depth of the pit is near the underground water supply which could facilitate an easy seepage for leachate.

The island of Semirara is so small in terms of land area such that the shoreline is near the center where garbage scatter and excesses will be easily washed away to the shore even with the absence of not so strong winds and rains.

This island is very far from the source of garbage (Metro Manila) which makes the transport of such materials directly posing the risk of polluting in the major sea routes and the shore of provinces and areas like Bataan, Corregidor, Manila Bay, Cavite, Batangas, Marinduque, Mindoro, Romblon, Aklan and Palawan. This is extremely dangerous especially during bad weather conditions and in cases of accidents, since the barges carry tons and tons of garbage that can be detrimental to marine life, tourism opportunities and livelihood options when the voyage is aborted prematurely along the way.

2. We believe that any sanitary landfill site or Garbage dump is always detrimental to the populace.

The EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency has stated in an international paper that there is no perfect shield for leachate based on their experience. They report, “…There is ample evidence that the municipal waste landfill leachates contain toxic chemicals in sufficient concentration to be potentially as harmful as leachate from industrial waste landfills.”

The garbage dump is contributing to the air pollution because of the gases emitted by the decomposing garbage. Pest and diseases come out easily that originates from volume of waste collected or dumped.

The garbage dump further lowers the morale of Antiqueños, creating a society of scavengers and unhealthy lifestyle.

3. We believe that the project proponents are not reliable.

The Proponent Celdex/DMCI has publicly announced that they are now financially distressed, and that we are afraid of the quality of services they can offer. Furthermore, the protection strategies based on the project studies remains doubtful. This company has a bad record of not fulfilling their promises to the workers and local residents.

The other Proponent MMDA has the track record of not able to manage the wastes properly in Metro Manila as we have observed in San Mateo, Payatas and the former Smokey Mountain which lead to the insurmountable garbage problem in the Metropolitan Manila. Then how can we trust them to effectively manage or by heart make better the garbage dump of Semirara island?

4. We resent the way we are treated in the conduct of consultations, public hearings and other methods to obtain a legal contract in operating the project in Antique.

Recent activities seemingly suggests that this crucial issue was concealed from the Antiqueñs and that the proponents have been trying to influence our leaders in making impulsive decisions relative to this, due to the pressures from political personalities, even without conducting the proper consultation and being subjected to public scrutiny which ought to have been the essential requisites preparatory to the approval of such proposal.

We have observed through the recent interaction with the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that the proponents are giving half-truth comments and concocted allegations like the approval of the Governor and the Mayor of the local Government unit, which we think, is one of their deception strategies to mislead our attention.

We are a poor province but we do not deserve to be treated the way these proponents of the landfill issue have treated us in their efforts to push through with their goal. Antique, notwithstanding its very depressing economic state, is the home of highly intellectual people who are keen and professional enough to determine what is right and best for the future of Antique. This is not just a mere fight against big personalities or between a rural community and an urbanized city but this is a very crucial crusade for our survival. Antique is definitely not a solution to their garbage problem. The officials and residents of Metro Manila ought to know how to solve this problem for their own good at their community level, rather than using this province as a sacrificial lamb in easing, if not totally solving, this garbage problem.

5. We believe in the preservation of our cultural pride, distinct identity with a sense of dignity as Antiqueños having a rural environment, simple culture, clean and peaceful environment all of which will simply be lost by the social stigma of being identified as the “Garbage Capital of the Philippines.”

We do not tolerate these proponents in making our province their mere wastebaskets. Our province is an escape from the complexities of the cities, the noise of urban living and the recharging of spirits. We are not in any way the catchers of their wastes nor do we crave to become recipients of your proposed economic surplus because the detrimental consequences being posed by this project are more than enough to outweigh the economic benefits and instill great fear in each and very one of us. We want to live a simple lifestyle as we have been in the past years. We also have simple needs but this is now the right time for us Antiqueños to strongly unite and fight for the preservation of our home province, the protection of our “kasimanwas”, the future of our children and our childrens’ children, and it is for this primary reason that I voluntarily sign this document.

Source: Courtesy of ANTIQUEdotPH
Please sign the document (petition) by going to this link