Gov't issues notice of violation to oil-spilling Rizal cement plant
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has issued a notice of violation to the cement plant that was the source of an oil spill in Rizal.
The document, released on Thursday, September 10, does not stop Solid Cement plant’s operations but begins an investigation into lapses in the plant’s management which led to the leak, said Ramero Osorio, legal officer of the EMB Region IV-A office.
“Based on their environmental compliance certificate, there are conditions that they violated. The spillage of the oil is a violation. They failed in their environmental management plan,” he told Rappler.
The plant failed to strictly manage its operations involving chemicals and respond immediately to the incident, according to EMB.
Solid Cement Corporation spokesman Chito Maniago confirmed to Rappler that they received the notice of violation. (READ, WATCH: Oil spill leaves foul odor, stomach pains in Rizal villages)
They also received a show cause order from the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), the government agency that regulates commercial operations near waterbodies surrounding the Laguna Lake.
The notice of violation summons Solid Cement representatives to a technical conference set on Tuesday, September 15.
“We are given the opportunity to explain to them the full incident, including results of our internal investigation and the external investigation by the government,” said Maniago.
The local governments of Teresa, Morong, and Rizal, their environment officers, the EMB, and the LLDA will be present in the technical conference.
If the investigations show that the leak was due to neglect on the part of the plant’s management, Solid Cement may face a penalty of between P10,000 and P50,000, said Osorio.
If the impacts of the oil spill are shown to pose a threat to life or lead to irreversible damage to the environment, the plant will be shut down. A future hearing will then determine if such a suspension of operations will be permanent.
Solid Cement previously stated that the leak of 2,000 liters of bunker fuel oil was due to a valve that had been left open in one of its fuel storage tanks.
The leak was first detected late Monday night, September 7. The company began cleaning operations the next morning and led a river clean-up drive on Wednesday.
The Philippine Coast Guard said the oil spill has been “contained,” with 70% of the leaked oil recovered from rivers and riverbanks. – Rappler.com