BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan announced that the technical committee for the Antamok waste-to-energy project will be shortlisting the proponents for the project to be able to identify the feasible technology that will be put in place in the proposed integrated solid waste disposal facility in the former open pit site.
The local chief executive said the technical committee is inclined to identify the potential waste-to-energy provider that will serve as the partner of the Benguet Corporation (BC) and the Goldrich Natural Explorations and Development corporation in the put up of the waste-to-energy facility in the said area to help effectively and efficiently address the garbage disposal concerns of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area.
The put up of the waste-to-energy facility in the former Antamok open pit mine site is part of the company’s final mine rehabilitation and development plan for the said area which was closed way back in 1997.
Upon the advise of Undersecretary Noel Felongco of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) who is also in charge of solid waste concerns nationwide, BC, Itogon municipality and Baguio City will be sending a letter seeking for the exclusion of the Antamok open pit site in the coverage of a resolution crafted by the National Solid Waste Commission (NSWMC) that absolutely prohibited the establishment of waste disposal facilities within protected areas.
The previous site for the engineered sanitary landfill (ESL) in Ampucao and the Antamok open pit mine site fall within the Lower Agno river basin reservation wherein the put up of solid waste disposal facilities are actually prohibited based on the 2013 resolution of the NSWMC.
However, Domogan explained Felongco agreed to his contention that the situation in the Antamok open pit site is different from the situation in Ampucao.
In the case of Antamok, he explained that the property is part of the patented claims of BC and that it is titled in the company’s name, thus, whatever development activities that will be done by the owner should not be included in the prohibition.
According to him, the technical committee will be preparing the necessary communication that will be submitted to the Commission for the members to partly reconsider their 2013 resolution absolutely prohibiting the use of the portions of declared forest reservations for the put up of solid waste disposal facilities.
Under the memorandum of understanding signed by representatives of the Benguet Corporation, Goldrich Natural Exploration and Development Corporation, Itogon municipal government and the Baguio City government, the company’s partner is given at least one year to conduct due diligence on the 60-hectare property being eyed as the site for the put up of the waste-to-energy plant.
Domogan remains optimistic that the technical committee will be able to select the suitable technology and the proponent so that the concerned parties could move on to the next step of the project. /By Dexter A. See