LGUs, DENR settle issues

The municipality of Argao may proceed with its farm-to-market road project after it settled the issue with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7.

Argao Mayor Edsel Galeos said it is his mandate to implement projects for the development of his town.

“Ug naa siguroy mga lapses, naay man puy solution (If there are lapses, there are solutions). Hopefully, we will be able to move on,” he told the media after his closed-door meeting with DENR 7 Executive Director Isabelo “Boy” Montejo at the Capitol last August 7.

Governor Hilario P. Davide III arranged the meeting. League of Municipalities of the Philippines Cebu Province Chapter President Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante, and league officers Cordova Mayor
Adelino Sitoy and Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado were also present during the meeting.

The controversy stemmed from DENR’s abuse of authority complaint against Galeos filed with the Ombudsman-Visayas. The municipal government allegedly cut 374 trees, without the agency’s permit, in its road opening project in Sitio Binalabag, Barangay Jampang.

Both parties were very calm throughout the dialogue. Galeos and Montejo said they were friends and continue to be friends despite the tension that occurred between their offices.

“Ang importante man gud diha nga murag naputol ang ilang communication line. Mao na nga niabot sa punto nga nagkinihaay na hinoon (There is a failure in their communication line. That is why it resulted to a filing of a case,” Diamante said.

He added, “Based on what I heard from their statements in front of the governor, their problem was settled.”

In an interview, Montejo said instead of talking about what happened between, they agreed to discuss the town’s Forest Land-Use Plan (FLUP)

Argao’s FLUP is already on final review by the DENR. Montejo said the FLUP should have been finished first before the opening of the farm-to-market road.

“We can only do projects on the area nga _nihaom sa atong_ FLUP (that is outlined in our FLUP),” he said.

The FLUP will be included in the Comprehensive Land-Use Plan (CLUP) of the local government units. Each LGU and the DENR will then jointly implement the FLUP after a signing of a memorandum of agreement.

In addition, Montejo also agreed to help the town of Cordova in its collection case against the shipping companies whose vessels collided in the Talisay City waters last year. The collision resulted to an oil spill that damaged the mangroves and wasted the marine products of Cordova.