Legal office told to dig into claims vs LNG plant

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said he asked the Provincial Legal Office (PLO) to study the concerns aired by San Carlos City Bishop Gerardo Alminaza and environmentalist groups against the proposed establishment of a 300-megawatt (LNG) Liquified Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plant in San Carlos City.

The governor told reporters that the “Capitol will always act accordingly,” in response to the call of Alminaza and environmentalist groups for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to revoke the Resolution of No Objection (RONO) issued in favor of the LNG Combined Cycle Power Plant in San Carlos City.

Earlier, Alminaza and various environmentalist groups maintained that the resolution of non-objection from the SP “is premature, invalid, and is not representative of the multiple stakeholders from San Carlos who openly objected against the LNG project during the public scoping.”

He further said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project is “still under preparation” by the proponent, and that Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular 22-018 states that local government units (LGUs) cannot issue a Letter of No Objection without an EIA, therefore deeming the non-objection invalid.

“We appeal to board members of the SP to adhere to their duty in protecting the interests of our people and the health of our environment,” Alminaza said.

Asked whether he is personally in favor of the proposed LNG project of San Miguel Corp in San Carlos City, Lacson, who previously served as its city mayor for nine years, replied “I am open to investment.”

Third District Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko, chairman of the Provincial Board’s Committee on Energy, said the RONO was approved during regular session on June 14, 2022.

Ko said the RONO is needed by the company for the issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“A public scoping by the company was already done in the host barangays in San Carlos City,” Ko added.

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