PUMALAG and People of Several Barangays in Bicol
Protest the Environmental Destruction Caused by the Operations

of the Energy Development Corporation

 

DENR, Legazpi CityI

 

 May 25, 2015

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Photos courtesy of Paul Casilihan
           
     
     
     

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MGB-Bicol for Albay villagers relocation in landslide-safe area

Rescuers gaze at the desert-like landslide area in Manito, Albay, where a happy community of rural folks used to live, but are now gone.. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

Rescuers gaze at the desert-like landslide area in Manito, Albay, where a happy community of rural folks used to live, but are now gone.. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

LEGAZPI CITY, 27Jan2015 (PNA) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) Bicol regional office has recommended the relocation of some 92 families living in the landslide and mudflow-stricken Sitio Inang Maharang. Barangay Nogotgot, Manito town in Albay.

Arlene Dayao, supervising geologist and MGB Geosciences Division chief, said her office had recommended the transfer of the affected families in Purok 6 and 7 in Sitio Inang Maharang due to the occurrence of landslides and mudflows every time heavy rains take place.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Dayao said a team of geologist that made a field investigation found out that the major cause of the landslide was the softening of soil on the mountain slopes triggered by heavy rains during bad and stormy weather.

The village is situated at the foot of the Puctol mountain ranges where extensive landslide happened, she said.

In 1994, at least 18 people in the village died and hundreds of houses were buried due to a landslide caused by Typhoon “Akang” that battered Albay.

This incident was duplicated by similar incidences in 1995 and 2008.

Dayao said although the village where the houses are located are situated at a distance from the mountain slopes, it is prone to debris flows.

She said the MGB’s disaster risk maps indicate that the village has been identified as a high risk area for landslide and mudflow.

The MGB official disclosed that their investigation showed that the landslide incident on Sunday was triggered by the heavy rains brought by storm “Amang.”

“It was a natural cause that the heavy downpour indeed caused the softening of the soil of the 820-meter high mountain, triggering a 2.4-kilometer avalanche at the slope,” Dayao said.

She added that pyroclastic materials emitted by volcanos along the Pucdol mountain range were found at the landslide and debris flow site.

She said the landslide was located at the Pucdol mountain ranges where nine inactive volcanoes lie.

“That’s the reason why the Bacon-Manito area is rich in geothermal resources,” Dayao claimed.

During an aerial inspection conducted earlier, Dayao and disaster authorities of Albay found out that a huge volume of water and debris that flowed from the mountain slopes affected some 70 hectares of farm lands in the village, some 15 kilometers from Manito town proper and one-and-half hour ride from this city.

As this developed, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said in a text message said that he had asked the MGB for a comprehensive report on the major causes that led to the landslides in Manito.

He said that based on the MGB fact-finding recommendations, “we will draw up possible solutions.”

Dayao dismissed earlier reports that the geothermal operation of the Energy Development Corp., (EDC) might have something to do with the landslide incident last week.

Earlier, affected residents of Sitio Inang Maharang barricaded the front gate of the EDC gate, preventing employees from entering the compound.

According to reports, the residents were blaming the EDC operation for the soil erosion.

The EDC is a geothermal firm operating the Bacon-Manito Geothermal (BacMan) plant in the boundaries of Bacon District, Sorsogon City and Manito town in Albay.

Residents alleged that the waste materials from the EDC BacMan construction were the major factor that caused the avalanche on Sunday last week.

Dayao said the local government unit of Manito is finalizing negotiations for the purchase of a five-hectare lot in the town to be used as relocation site.(PNA)

- See more at: http://bicoltoday.com/2015/01/27/mgb-bicol-for-albay-villagers-relocation-in-landslide-safe-area/#sthash.jDu7zdzu.dpuf


Geothermal firm EDC washes hands over Albay landslide; blames heavy rains


landslide-manito-albay2

There used to be a village neighborhood of about 90 houses in Manito, Albay, but this landslide Sunday had swept them away during storm typhoon Amang. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

By Angel Ayala and Joey Natividad


LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, 24Jan2015 (BicolToday.com) – Geothermal firm Energy Development Corporation (EDC) denies responsibility over landslide in Manito, Albay and blames heavy rainfall brought by Typhoon Amang last Sunday.


“The landslide in Inang Maharang, Manito, Albay occurred as a result of the extreme rainfall caused by Typhoon Amang”, said EDC spokesperson Mei Ann Tejada.

EDC said it is coordinating and working with the provincial government of Albay, local governments, the Philippine Army and PDRRMC to provide relief goods and medical assistance to Inang Maharang residents affected by the landslide.

Its team rescued and evacuated more than 300 individuals immediately after the landslide, EDC claimed.

More than 300 people were affected by the landslide during 130 km/hr typhoon, and many lost their homes. (see related article)

EDC has been drilling deep holes into the bedrock to search for hot gasses and geothermal steam which will power turbines in generating mega watts of electricity.

Reports said many deep holes had been drilled within the landslide area in Manito.

Clearing the vegetation and top soil during drilling explorations might have disturbed and loosened the ground earth structure prior to landslide. [BicolToday.com]

Landslide site at Brgy Nogotgot,Sitio Inang Maharang, Manito, Albay. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

Landslide site at Brgy Nogotgot,Sitio Inang Maharang, Manito, Albay. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

 

Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

Rescuers gaze at the desert-like landslide area in Manito, Albay, where a happy community of rural folks used to live, but are now gone.. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

- See more at: http://bicoltoday.com/2015/01/24/geothermal-firm-edc-washes-hands-over-albay-landslide-blames-heavy-rains/#sthash.Xu0TSr3A.dpuf
 

     
 
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BICOL TODAY

EDC in geothermal project
accused of environmental abuse


By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
http://bicoltoday.com/2015/04/23/edc-in-geothermal-project-accused-of-environmental-abuse/

SORSOGON CITY, 23April2015 (BicolToday.com) – The environmental programs that the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) implemented as a counter measure of its geothermal exploration in Bacon-Manito field was not enough as it was scored by people’s organization in their protest action Wednesday, sending their petition to the office of the city mayor that underlines their concerns. The protest action coincided with the celebration of Earth Day.

The group, PUMALAG acronym for “Pinag-isang Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Lason Goethermal” called for an independent body to tackle the problems from the geothermal operations taking health, livelihood, their rights to access in the hinterlands and the long term productivity of communities affected, and to adhere  the environmental regulations.

They called to halt the drilling operations that cleared large forest areas, reasoning that it causes flooding that affected residents of Barangay Rizal.

They said that the geothermal exploration has caused the drying up of rivers and streams at Tanawon-Botong, the lake on the upper part of Mt. Pulog in Upper Sta. Cruz Bacon is drying up. It also called attention to the present condition of the Cawayan River. They made mention of the cut logs that were washed-up after the recent typhoon reaching Barangay Gimaloto traceable to EDC clearing operations.

In their petition, they said that water and air within the proximity of EDC operations are becoming health hazards, communities are now suffering from skin problems which could not be treated by over the counter medicines, water sources are becoming contaminated. Implying that their agricultural produce suffered and the low production of “palay” is traceable to the depletion of the water flowing in the irrigation canals that sources it from the rivers and streams in the upper parts of the EDC reservation.

The sticky allegation of PUMALAG may tied the hands of EDC for at the city council, a committee report pictured a negative image for the geothermal operation even calling for legal action against the corporate concern of the Lopezes here though it remains to be done.

The council judicial action may seek an issuance of a writ of Kalikasan after the findings points to environmental destruction’s in certain areas within the reserve of EDC.

The clarification on the usage of earth fill materials when it was granted a quarry permit at Barangay Osiao, Bacon District approved for ten thousand cubic meters extractions is another concern for them. The permit was issued to EDC-BGPF under care of Liberato Virata.

The appearance of EDC at the council did not alter the negatives reports of the environment committee who conducted an ocular inspection after receiving numerous complaints from residents of Barangay Osiao and from host communities of the west district.

The city government environment stands for the protection of the environment and time and again called the attention of EDC to review policies and implement new strategies to preserve the environment balance with development. [BicolToday.com]

- See more at: http://bicoltoday.com/2015/04/23/edc-in-geothermal-project-accused-of-environmental-abuse/#sthash.cXTajQSg.dpuf

 

     
     

 

 

 

     
     
     
     

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BICOL TODAY

Bicol Earth Day Celebration:
anti-mining, anti geothermal
BicolToday.com News Team

 

MASBATE CITY, 23April2015 (BicolToday.com) – About 6,000 rural folks in Masbate joined anti-mining protest in celebration of Earth Day, while in Sorsogon several staged a rally against geothermal exploitation.


The rally in Masbate was directed to the open-pit gold mining project run by Filminira Resources Corporation with Australian and Canadian mining partners which dislocated farmers and ruin the environment.

 

 In Sorsogon, the protests zeroed in on Energy Development Corporation (EDC) which has been drilling the Manito-Bacon mountains for geothermal steam deposit.

 

EDC, a Lopez firm, operates the Bacman power plant.

 

The geothermal project has affected mountain sources of spring water and dried up streams, affecting farmers within the franchise area. [BicolToday.com]

http://bicoltoday.com/2015/04/23/bicol-earth-day-celebration-anti-mining-anti-geothermal/

           
     
     
     
   
           
           


Residents blame EDC for Manito landslide; Albay gov urges MGB probe

 

Landslide site at Brgy Nogotgot,Sitio Inang Maharang, Manito, Albay. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

Landslide site at Brgy Nogotgot,Sitio Inang Maharang, Manito, Albay. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, 22Jan2015 — Albay Governor Joey Salceda has asked the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office to investigate the landslide incident in Manito town after its victims blamed the Energy Development Corp, (EDC) as responsible for its occurrence on Sunday morning.

The villagers of Sitio Inang Maharang, Barangay Nagotgot in Manito, Albay, have blamed the EDC for the avalanche that left them homeless and currently at ground zero after tropical storm “Amang” hit the Bicol Region.

A major earth avalanche rolled about two kilometers down the 400-meter high mountain where the geothermal operation of EDC is located.

The landslide affected 92 families or 344 people and buried or totally damaged 15 houses.

Mayor Caesar S. Daet of Manito said the landslide victims will be relocated to a safe area.

On Tuesday, the furious landslide victims of Sitio Inang Maharang staged a protest action and barricaded the village road, preventing the employees and vehicles of EDC to enter and pass through the area.

This was the first time that mudslide victims staged a protest against the private company that they blamed for the occurrence of a major landslide.

 

To prevent possible untoward incident, Salceda asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help pacify the enraged landslide victims.

He also asked the MGB to conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the landslide and whether the EDC’s on-going exploration within the geothermal field had triggered it.

“We’re asking Arlene Dayao of MGB-Bicol to conduct an investigation on the incident before coming up with necessary solutions since the MGB is the authority. Then we will discuss the findings and make solutions,” Salceda said.

He also directed Daep to talk with the victims about their problems and the Provincial Social Welfare Office to ensure food supply.

In a report to Salceda, Arnold Calsiña, Manito municipal disaster operation officer,there are 92 families or 344 persons totally affected as their houses were totally destroyed by the mudslide while 90 hectares of ricefields were destroyed including 75 hectares of vegetable plantations, and 15 houses, three carabaos, two gilts and one sow were buried.

Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), said “Manito is one of the landslide-prone towns in Albay with historic and rhetoric landslide occurrences since time immemorial.”

Tropical storm Amang battered the Bicol Region on Sunday, specifically Albay province, with maximum sustained winds of 130 kph associated with heavy downpour or above average precipitation, Daep said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Daep convened officials of of the MGB, PNP, Department of Education and the PSWDO to come up with necessary actions to resolve the ongoing disaster problem in Manito.

As agreed upon during the emergency meeting here called by Daep, the DepEd and the Provincial Engineering Office led by engineer Dante Baclao will bring and put up at least four tents from the United Nations Children Fund in Manito to be used as temporary classrooms and evacuation center of homeless landslide victims.

Meanwhile, the PSWDO will provide food relief to all affected families, including those families whose rice and vegetable plantations were destroyed by the earth avalanche from the mountain within the EDC’s geothermal field.

Supt. Marlou Meneses, PNP-Albay provincial director, immediately sent his men to help pacify the ongoing commotion in the area.

Meneses said the people’s emotion is high and natural as they were left homeless and back to square one without a source of livelihood or income as their main source of living has been destroyed.

“So far, everything is in order. The barricade was removed, allowing EDC employees and their vehicles to pass through their road going to the geothermal field,” Meneses said.

The MGB-Bicol will seek clearance from the EDC for its personnel to enter the area for the ground evaluation.

Earlier, disaster officials here and the MGB conducted an aerial survey through Philippine Air Force helicopters to determine the extent of damages brought by Amang. (PNA)

- See more at: http://bicoltoday.com/2015/01/22/residents-blame-edc-for-manito-landslide-albay-gov-urges-mgb-probe/#sthash.kDw3ojJH.dpuf

 



Landslide hits Albay village, EDC blamed

by Rhaydz B. Barcia
 

manito

Legazpi City- Albay Governor Joey Salceda has asked the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office to investigate the landslide incident in Manito town Sunday morning which was blamed to the Energy Development Corp, (EDC).

The villagers of Sitio Inang Maharang, Barangay Nagotgot in Manito, Albay, have blamed the EDC for the avalanche that left them homeless and currently at ground zero after tropical storm “Amang” hit the Bicol Region.

A major earth avalanche rolled about two kilometers down the 400-meter high mountain where the geothermal operation of EDC is located.

The landslide affected 92 families or 344 people and buried or totally damaged 15 houses.

Mayor Caesar S. Daet of Manito said the landslide victims will be relocated to a safe area.

On Tuesday, the furious landslide victims of Sitio Inang Maharang staged a protest action and barricaded the village road, preventing the employees and vehicles of EDC to enter and pass through the area.

This was the first time that mudslide victims staged a protest against the private company that they blamed for the occurrence of a major landslide.

To prevent possible untoward incident, Salceda asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help pacify the enraged landslide victims.

He also asked the MGB to conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the landslide and whether the EDC’s on-going exploration within the geothermal field had triggered it.

“We’re asking Arlene Dayao of MGB-Bicol to conduct an investigation on the incident before coming up with necessary solutions since the MGB is the authority. Then we will discuss the findings and make solutions,” Salceda said.

He also directed Daep to talk with the victims about their problems and the Provincial Social Welfare Office to ensure food supply.

In a report to Salceda, Arnold Calsiña, Manito municipal disaster operation officer,there are 92 families or 344 persons totally affected as their houses were totally destroyed by the mudslide while 90 hectares of ricefields were destroyed including 75 hectares of vegetable plantations, and 15 houses, three carabaos, two gilts and one sow were buried.

Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), said “Manito is one of the landslide-prone towns in Albay with historic and rhetoric landslide occurrences since time immemorial.”

Tropical storm Amang battered the Bicol Region on Sunday, specifically Albay province, with maximum sustained winds of 130 kph associated with heavy downpour or above average precipitation, Daep said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Daep convened officials of of the MGB, PNP, Department of Education and the PSWDO to come up with necessary actions to resolve the ongoing disaster problem in Manito.

As agreed upon during the emergency meeting here called by Daep, the DepEd and the Provincial Engineering Office led by engineer Dante Baclao will bring and put up at least four tents from the United Nations Children Fund in Manito to be used as temporary classrooms and evacuation center of homeless landslide victims.

Meanwhile, the PSWDO will provide food relief to all affected families, including those families whose rice and vegetable plantations were destroyed by the earth avalanche from the mountain within the EDC’s geothermal field. (PNA)

 

           

 

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