Unearthed: Expired goods buried on mayor's property

Unearthed: Expired goods buried on mayor's property

Jan 31, 2024, 7:12 AM
Joyce Kahano-Alpino

Joyce Kahano-Alpino


Just when many believe that the whole fiasco and barage of accusations hurled against the Palompon, Leyte mayor is about to die down, more plot twists were literally "unearthed". Eventually, the year will not be starting great for Palompon Mayor Ramon Oñate.

Just last January 21, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 8 spearheaded the excavation of three sites inside the famed DBSN poultry farm in Barangay San Joaquin, by virtue of a search warrant issued by Tacloban City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Georgina Perez.

Aside from the notable poultry waste, expired canned goods which could have fed many of the local residents and are believed to be intended as donations for Yolanda victims, were unearthed from the official's property.

This discovery is simply another nail to the mayor's tarnished reputation after a case for violation of Republic Act No. 11038, also known as the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System Act of 2018, has already been filed. This is due to the fact that the location of the farm has been declared a protected watershed area, and the buried wastes have already affected the water quality of the area’s springs and rivers.

Researchers from the University of Santo Tomas had confirmed that the river in the watershed area was found to be contaminated with bacteria and inhabited by blood worms and the excavation site emitted a foul odor. Neighboring towns in Barangay Antipolo, Albuera, Leyte, was also affected by the contamination of the watershed.


Meanwhile, despite the overwhelming physical and concrete evidence as basis of the complaints, Mayor Oñate continues to deny the allegations. The official said that their family was vindicated by the excavation activity, since no hazardous wastes were found in the site.

“Wala silang nakuha. Wala silang nakuha na ebidensya that we were conducting a massive dumping of hazardous and infectious waste coming from Albuera. Never, not even a single needle that they were able to retrieve as evidence against us,” Oñate said.

However, many netizens called the mayor's statements as an act of desperation and "bullshitting" as he is now caught in the corner while more of his dirty secrets are being found.

In fact, lawyer Lloyd Surigao, the legal counsel of the complainants and witnesses, challenged the Mayor to prove that the complaints are false and that no contamination had occurred by drinking a sample of the contaminated water.

“I challenge the mayor. Inom siya og tubig didto sa nakalutan,” Surigao added.

He also urged other agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Commission on Audit (COA), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), to conduct their own investigation into this controversy, especially regarding the presence of expired donations and the use of government vehicles and employees to prevent the implementation of the search warrant.

#OpinYon8 #OY8 #CoverStory #Palompon #RamonOñate #DENR #DBSNPoultryFarm #ENIPAS #DSWD #COA #DILG #OpinYon #WeTakeAStand

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