Monday, April 7, 2008

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd. & The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Receive Da Daily Donkey Award!

Readers have been asking about Da Daily Donkey Award for some time now. Why did I stopped? No, I didn’t stop per se. I actually wanted to know how people perceive my Da Daily Donkey Award articles. And judging from the ton of emails I received asking about it, I guess they’re quite popular. So, without further ado, here’s another Da Daily Donkey award friends!

Da DailyDonkeyHanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd. Condominium

The latest recipients of Da Daily Donkey Award are Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd. (HHIC), which is building two high-rise “residential condominium” in Subic’s rainforest and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which issued the Environmental Compliance Certificate.

Now, don’t get me wrong, friends! You know I’m all out for residences, homes, and what-have-you’s! But a condominium smacked inside a rainforest? Come on! You have got to be shitting me! According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), which came out with the story, the buildings are being constructed as a housing project for Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd.'s expatriate Korean employees and possibly some Filipinos. The PDI news report also stated that the buildings include one 10 stories and another 20 stories tall!

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd. Graphic

From what I know friends, under the administration of President Corazon Aquino, the Subic The Proclamation, dated 25 June 1992, states that the area, roughly around 10,000 hectares, has been withdrawn from "sale, entry, settlement, exploitation, exploration and other forms of disposition." The proclamation also placed the land under the "executive control and administration" of the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. watershed forest reserve was declared a protected area via Proclamation No. 926.

Thus, no human occupation is allowed in national parks. The law provides that there should be “no human occupation” within natural parks, except for forest dwellers. Well, not unless the people who will occupy the condominiums are forest dwellers! Guess again! FAT CHANCE, FAT MAN! Ano kayo, ewoks? It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, y’all! The construction specifically opens up the forest to transgressions! And I’m not talking about the condominiums alone! What about the roads leading to the condominiums? Such opens up the door for other transgressions, now and in the future!

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Image

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which issued the Environmental Compliance Certificate, should have encouraged Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd. to put up their housing facility outside of the rainforest. There are so many other alternative places in Subic! Moreover, the Philippines is made up of more than 7,100 islands! Why pick on the rainforest? Such development poses a serious question, i.e., Did Hanjin exploit a loophole in the law allowing the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to give the clearance even without the approval of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources? Hmmm. A ton of questions begging for a serious inquiry from the higher echelons of the government? And more hmmm.

Now wait, AnitoKid! The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is an autonomous unit! So what’s the fuss all about? Hold your horses, son! Given that the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is an autonomous unit, it shouldn't be the case either! The law provides that the Protected Area Management Board, made up of representatives from various sectors, including government and civil society, is the body that should approve such projects, e.g., construction works within natural parks. According to environmental lawyer Maria Paz Luna, the problem in Subic is that the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and its Ecology Center had previously declared that it is also the Protected Area Management Board. A Protected Area Management Board should be a multi-sectoral body that includes all stakeholders in park protection and conservation.

How can the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority allow this type of development, particularly if included in its mandate is protection of Subic’s ecology? Protection is the keyword here. Indeed, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Ltd. has major investments in the Philippines’ shipbuilding industry - the shipyard in Zambales and another in Misamis Oriental. It is investing around $3.6 billion to put up two shipbuilding and repair facilities, one at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (around $1.6 billion), the other at the Phividec Industrial Estate (around $2 billion), according to Executive Order 701. But these do not excuse Hanjin or the SBMA or other government agencies at all levels to support the said construction! And I kid you not!

"The Anitokid loves the environment!"

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