Mar 202015

Dear Editor:

The Kalikasang Dalisay para sa mga Mamamayan ng Plaridel (KaDaMay Plaridel), an affiliate of the Diocesan Ecological and Environmental Program (DEEP) of the Diocese of Malolos, wishes to correct the information released by Steel Asia/Del Pilar Steel (DPSI) in its press release on your paper, Philippine Star Business Section  on March 9, 2015

On major issues about people support and transparency:

1. From March 3-9, 2015 alone, we gathered more than 5,300 signatures from residents opposing the DPSI steel mill. Many more are signing, overcoming their fear of reprisals from local influential entities. The Diocese of Malolos, together with Bishop Oliveros and 142 priests of all its vicariates in Bulacan and Valenzuela, has issued letters supporting our opposition, first on 11 November 2014 and then again, on 11 March 2015.  Please refer to attached file.

2. DPSI increased proposed capacity by 50 percent (from 800,000 MT/y to 1,200,000 MT/y) without informing the public prior to its DENR ECC application. Until now there are 50 unresolved issues in the EIS even after the EMB Review committee comments were claimed to have been integrated in their EIS.

On major issues about land:

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3. For the public’s information, the site where the steel mill is proposed to be sited is located in an Environmentally Critical Area, being surrounded by productive ricefields and NIA irrigation facilities, as well as households as close as 100 meters from the site.

4. The proposed site has been approved by DENR-EMB Region 3 for light to medium industries only. The steel mill is a “heavy highly pollutive/hazardous industry” per classification of HLURB.

5. The entry of a heavy industry can catalyze the conversion of irrigated ricelands, lands considered “non-negotiable for conversion” under our land reform laws. The House Resolution No. 1889 filed by Rep. Guanlao (chairman of Committee on Food Security) and referred to the Committee on Agrarian Reform on Feb. 10, 2015 will address this issue.

On issues about air quality:

Steel Asia has not committed in its Impact Management Plan, more so budgetted, any gas scrubber system and Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) to protect our community  from likely harm from gas emissions. 

On major ssues about water resource competition and pollution:

The operation of the steel mill will compete with our domestic water needs during summer. As Kadamay Plaridel pointed out during the Public Consultation on Feb 11, 2015, Angat River is either dry or only has river maintenance flow during summer months, the same period when DPSI plans to extract water from Angat River.

The country needs steel industry but steel plants should be sited away from residential areas restricted from heavy industries.  No amount of benefits can outweigh its hazards and risks to environment, livelihood, life, health and over-all quality of  life and well-being of the local community. The local community should not be made to suffer. Steel mills should be sited in appropriate locations; it is not the local population who should be given cause to transfer or relocate.   

Thank you very much for giving us a chance to explain the current scenario in this project. We hope that this gets released so that the concerned public may know.


Rina Lacia-Bugayong


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