30 October 2016

Protest vs. Hinobaan industrial estate aired

Farmers, fisherfolk and environment advocates are set to launch a people's campaign against the establishment of the Southern Negros Industrial Estate in Hinobaan, Negros Occidental, where a Japanese shipyard will be built, Dolly Celedonio, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Negros secretary general, said yesterday.

On Wednesday, during the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan, Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. signed a memorandum of understanding with Tsuneishi Heavy Industries for the construction of a ship recycling and re-use facility and a biomass power plant.

He said the construction of the ship facility is expected to start next year. Hinobaan Mayor Ernesto Estrao expects 5,000 jobs to be created and boost the economy of his town.

"Local executives proposing the project are dangling promises of employment, relocation, tourism and better life for Hinoba-an residents. But in reality, the project will affect hundreds of farmers and fisherfolk and will wipe out everything that they have -- their farms, their homes and their future," Celedonio said at a press conference in Bacolod yesterday.

A fact finding mission by the Defend Patrimony-Negros, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan - Negros, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Pamalakaya and local group Asosasyon sang Manggagmay nga Mangunguma kag Mangingisda sa Obong shows that 300 households will be affected by the project, Felipe Levy Gelle Jr. of Defend Patrimony south Negros said.

The economic zone will cover about 150 hectares of prime agricultural lands and fishing ground of small fishermen, he added.

The proposed SNIE land-use plan obtained by the fact finding mission team showed that the ecozone will establish a ship breaking and ship recycling yard, car re-use and recycling facility , furniture company, soybean oil factory, biomass power plant, and a industrial waste collection facility, Celedonio said.

The project will also expand the Salvacion sea port and will develop the local airport, she noted.

 "Legitimate agrarian reform beneficiaries will be affected by the SNIE and Tsuneishi shipyard project. We ask the Department of Agrarian Reform to intervene, stop the land conversion and uphold the welfare of farmers of Hinoba-an," Celedonio said.

 The said lands targeted for the ecozone project were expropriated by the local government in 2014. There is also a pending petition for land conversion filed by Marañon for the 127-hectares of land formerly used by Insular Lumber Co., she said.

Jeremias Juliane of AMMMO said they will fight for the lands that are their only source of food and livelihood.

Source: visayan daily star. 29 October 2016.

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