Not all firms on DENR list environment-friendly, say green groups

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02:35 AM December 2nd, 2012

By: DJ Yap, December 2nd, 2012 02:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Three major green groups have taken exception to a list of companies recognized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for their earth-friendly practices in 2012, citing the “dirty and destructive nature” of some of the companies.

Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (Gaia) on Saturday expressed their disappointment over the “Official Seal of Approval” awarded by the DENR to 18 plants and facilities of at least 10 companies, including multinationals.

The DENR’s stamp of approval for most environmentally responsible corporations is valid for one year.

“Some of these companies have been hounded in the past by communities and civil society organizations for the dirty and destructive nature of their core businesses,” the groups said, but refrained from naming the firms.

“It seems black is the new green if we are to believe this green-washing attempt by the DENR,” said Von Hernandez, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“Giving the green tag to oil companies, coal power plants, incinerators and smelting plants, especially in this era of climate change, is simply outrageous and shows how this agency has lost sight of its mandate to advance the protection of the environment,” Hernandez said.

On Thursday, the DENR cited the following plants and facilities for their green policies: Aboitiz Power Hedcor Sibulan Inc.-Davao del Sur; Coca-Cola plants in the provinces of Isabela, Ilocos Norte, La Union and Pangasinan; Green Core Geothermal Inc.-Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant; Energy Development Corp.’s geothermal power fields in Kidapawan City and Leyte, and Holcim’s plants in Lugait, Misamis Oriental, and Norzagaray, Bulacan; Nestle’s Cagayan distribution center and factory in Pulilan, Bulacan; Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation-Isabela, Leyte; Pilipinas Shell’s Tacloban terminal; Batangas onshore gas refinery of Shell Philippines Malampaya B. V.; STEAG State Power, Inc.-Misamis Oriental, and Team Energy Corporation’s power stations in Pagbilao, Quezon, and Sual, Pangasinan.

All the winners have not faced a single complaint before the DENR’s Pollution Adjudication Board in the past three years, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

As a reward, the DENR will relax its rules on the submission requirements for reports, automatically extend the validity of permits, and ease procedures in securing environmental compliance certificates for the expansion of the projects, he said.

But Hernandez said the lack of verifiable complaints from the public “does not mean that some of these enterprises are green.”

Edwin Alejo, national coordinator of EcoWaste, said the companies cited by the DENR should release their emissions data in line with the public’s right to know.

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