Governor Scores Critics of Ship Recycling Project

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., yesterday shot back at critics of the proposed Japanese-backed ship recycling project in Hinobaan town, some five hours away from this capital city of Bacolod.

Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. (center) together with Board Members Salvador Escalante, Jr. and Samson Mirhan (1st and 4th from left) check on the firefighting supplies and equipment donated by the Firefighters for Christ to the Provincial Govern-ment of Negros Occ. at the Capitol, yesterday. With them is Provincial Disaster Management Program Division Head, Zeaphard Caelian (right).*(Capitol photo by Richard Malihan)

Marañon said that contrary to the claims of critics that the project will cause harm to the environment in the coastal villages of Obong and Salvacion in the said town, “the Japanese people are known for their concern on the environment.”

“Go to Japan and you will see how clean is the environment there,” the Governor pointed out.

Marañon asked the critics, “why are they complaining now when there have been many mangroves that have been destroyed in other areas of the province and they have not com-plained?”

Environment group Green Alert Negros (GAN) with some local residents of Hinobaan have opposed the projects saying that it would cause environmental destruction especially on the mangroves and displace agrarian reform beneficiaries as they claimed that the area is agricultural land.

The Hinobaan town council last week passed an ordinance converting some 300 hectares of land in the two villages from agricultural to industrial.

Marañon said that “originally, the area was industrial and it was not converted into agricultural. It is only the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) who gave out Certificate of Land Ownership (CLOA). You could check with the records of the town.

The distribution by DAR of the land is “illegal”, he insisted.

In October last year, Marañon and the executives of Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Japan for the construction of the shipbuilding facility.

“The project will mean job opportunities for the local residents there,” Marañon said.*(Eugene Y. Adiong)


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