The escalating conflict going on now between the mayor and vice mayor of a tourist haven Leyte town could be more than just a feat of wild politicking. The controversy appears more of a travesty of public interest and environmental concerns.
Palompon Mayor Georgina Arevalo and Vice Mayor Ramon Oñate is at loggerheads, with the former going firm in her assault against the latter’s breeding farm DBSN, which she claimed seriously at fault over issues involving social and environmental matters.
On the other hand, Vice Mayor Oñate has accused Mayor Arevalo of overhandling what he claimed an easily fixable matter as provided for by existing laws, and not in the overly disproportionate manner it has done and is doing by trying to stop and close down its legitimate business operations.
In a radio interview, Arevalo said DBSN Breeding Farm failed to secure a business permit for failure to get vital requirements. According to her, the farm doesn’t have a Barangay Certification, and it is a vital requirement in securing a business permit.
The failure of DBSN to secure a barangay certification is due to serious allegations of some 100 residents nearby it claiming the farm is seriously unkempt and polluted.
“Wala ni business permit, wala nato tagai didi sa LGU kay kulang sila sa requirements. Wala kana siya tagai ug Barangay Certification because of pollution problem and violations on environmental laws.”
Arevalo claimed there are over 100 residents in the area where the farm is situated who signed a petition against DBSN, citing pollution concerns and serious violations on environmental laws.
Within the town’s watershed
Arevalo alleged that the farm is within Palompon watershed area and that is not allowed based on existing environmental laws. “Bawal gud na nga matukoran na sugad aning klaseng farm. Ok ra kung ginagmay o backyard farm, pero kung sugad ni aning kadako nga farm dili na gud pwede ana.”
However, when pressed on the question and the course of action undertaken by the relevant agency of government which is the Environmental Management Bureau EMB, it could not provide details except for asserting that its presence and operations in the area is a no-no and should not have been granted permit at all at first.
The Mayor’s Heavy Hand
Vice Mayor Oñate suspects there is more to what he claimed” heavy-handedness” mayor Arevalo is doing against his business.
Oñate said the mayor’s talk and actions are inconsistent. “Iba ang iya gisulti sa iyang action, I wonder why it is so. Ano talaga real problem namin?”
The Vice Mayor argued that if the problem of the LGU against DBSN are but mere procedural lapses or worse miscalculations of local tax dues as alleged, it need not and should not have rushed into issuing of a Cease and Desist Order (CDO).
“The LGU should have simply notified DBSN on its issues and should have helped explored all available remedies instead.”
Oñate opined that issuing orders to close down and shut operations of a legitimate business engagement is reprehensible.
“Walang due process itong iya gibuhat.”
Mayor Arevalo has issued CDO in February this year and it’s the same order that the LGU is enforcing as of date, which consequently affecting negatively DBSN operations resulting in heavy losses.
However, talks in the town are ripe that Vice Mayor Oñate, also, a former Mayor, is seriously gunning to retake the mayoralty post. He, however, did not confirm or deny the report during a media brief.
On the other hand, efforts to reached Mayor Arevalo by phone to get her comments on the matter were unfruitful. She would not budge on the repeated calls on her made by the OpinYon Editorial team.
On May 21, a group of journalists from Tacloban claimed they have been illegally detained for 45 minutes by the staff of mayor Arevalo.
Reports claimed that eight media personalities who had just interviewed the vice mayor at DBSN Breeding Farm was on their way back to Tacloban when an LGU checkpoint flagged them down and hold them for 45 minutes.
They were later allowed to leave after police intervention. (RM)