LINGAYEN—The 18-hole Lingayen Golf Course Project initiated by the provincial government has been issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last January 2.
Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim Jr. said the delay in the issuance was due to administrative factors and not about the project per se, which has become controversial because of suspected illegal mining involved in the construction.
“Everything is complied with and everything is in order,” Calimlim said.
The ECC, issued by Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Director, DENR, states, “With the issuance of this ECC, you are expected to implement the measures presented in the EIS (Environment Impact Statement) which are intended to protect and mitigate the project’s perceived adverse impacts on community’s health, welfare, and the environment.”
The 38-hectare golf course covers areas in three barangays of the capital town, namely: Sabangan, Estanza, and Malimpuec.
The ECC also provides certain conditions that should be complied with, including the “implementation of an Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Program to apprise stakeholders”, “implementation of gender-sensitive Social Development Plan/Program (SDP)…by the proponent and affected barangays”, “prevention of surface, groundwater and soil contamination”, “implement a reforestation and carbon sink program”, “implementation of a Storm Water Run-off Management Program”, durable “water impounding structures”, and submission of a “Water Balance and Water Usage Diagram”.
Board Member Alfonso Bince said with the issuance of the ECC, “the burden” of the provincial government in justifying the black mining controversy is alleviated.
Provincial officials, including Governor Amado Espino Jr. are named in a complaint filed before the Ombudsman over alleged illegal black sand mining in the golf course area.
Officials have asserted that the extraction of black sand is necessary for the project as grass, a major component of a golf course, could not grow on it.
The golf course is part of an ecotourism complex originally planned by former President Fidel V. Ramos.
“Tinutupad na natin ‘yong dream niya (Ramos),” said Calimlim, adding “All ecotourism sites are also business ventures…dahil alam po natin na mababalik ang pera ng tao at multifold pa…income generation, employment generation.”– Johanne R. Macob