Environmental groups warn against water project

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Environmental groups Green Alert Negros (GAN) and Group of Environmental Socialists (GOES) are cautioning Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson against the Negros Occidental Bulk Water Project (NOBWP).

In a statement sent to the Daily Guardian over the weekend, the groups expressed their concern about the proposed project.

They said the water source from the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) is already under threat from illegal structures and commercialization that are unregulated by the Protected Area Management Board, led by the Provincial Government and DENR.

The groups criticized Lacson’s support for allegedly legalizing banned structures within the protected areas, which they said contradicts his own government’s laws.

They added that despite opposition from local government units and stakeholders, the governor insists on pushing through with the project, raising questions about the long-term impacts and the process of acquiring the necessary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

“The proponent should consider the riparian rights, which is the right of water to flow, that will be affected by the proposed project,” they added.

They further stated that the ecosystem would be destroyed due to the capturing, storage, and distribution of water, and then the receiving end would have to purchase the water.

“Water is a free resource,” the groups emphasized.

The groups urged the governor to listen to the concerns of the people and uphold democratic principles for the common good.

They emphasized the importance of protecting the water source, which serves as the lifeblood of Negros Occidental, including the NNNP and MKNP.

“Failure to heed these concerns could lead to water shortages and increased disaster risk due to the climate crisis,” they said.