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Sorsogon village faces ‘extinction’ due to flooding; EDC blamed

By Bobby Q. Labalan

SORSOGON CITY, July 29 (PNA) — A village in Bacon district here may soon be erased from the map of this city if the geo-hazard threatening it would not be acted upon, the village chief on Monday warned.

In a meeting of barangay captains called by City Mayor Sally Lee to assess the damages wrought by recent Typhoon “Glenda,” village chairman Tito Dio of Barangay Osiao said the typhoon spawned massive flooding in their barangay, made worse by the infrastructure put up by the Energy Development Corp. (EDC).

Dio blamed the disaster to the Bac-Man Geothermal Production Field whose water drainage empties onto the village.

“Their open canals are directed towards us; say, there are five canals measuring about 0.4 by 0.8 meter on top of the mountain at the back of the village, imagine the volume of water that this drainage system pumps down to our barrio,” Dio narrated during the meeting.

He said the flood has damaged the entire rice farms in the village, turning rice paddies into a river.

Dio said that due to the enormous water coming from the geothermal field owned by the EDC, the river path has been altered and has run towards rice farms.

“Our farmers are supposed to harvest by September but now everything is gone,” Dio lamented.

He appealed for immediate help to dredge the river so that the original course of the water would be restored.

“If no action will be done soonest, our barrio would be erased from the city map — especially with the onset of the rainy season,” he stressed, as he called on the Lopez-owned EDC to have pity on them.

Dio said they can no longer protest against the operation of the giant multinational company as it would be like crying in the wilderness but they just want some help to spare his constituents from danger.

“We just want to appeal for help,” he claimed.

The village chief said at least 200 households are directly threatened by the inundation.

He said that since the EDC flattened the mountain at the back of the village and constructed a production plant, flooding at the barrio has become more frequent.Water quality also deteriorated and has turned mocha in color.

The geothermal company has not yet visited the village, the official said, adding that flooding has become a normal occurrence in their barangay since EDC started its expansion — and sometimes, some scrap materials from the geothermal plant like tires are washed down to the barrio.

He said they fear that toxic chemicals from the plant might have been spilling down to the river during heavy rains as there have been instances when water smelled of chemicals.

Dio also complained about skin diseases which are being attributed to the plant operation, though, he said, those afflicted are being assisted by EDC and brought to a skin clinic in Legazpi City.

Ed Jimenez, EDC’s local community relations officer, said he would bring the matter to the attention of his superiors even as he tried to downplay the complaint of Dio. (PNA)

LAP/FGS/BQL/CBD

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