New SP majority approves resolution rejected by previous SP
BACKFILLING OF FISHPONDS BY ETERNAL GARDENS
THE Dagupan Sangguniang Panlungsod gave the nod to the application of the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park Corporation for the development of its 3.7 hectare property as extension of its memorial park over the petition and protest of city residents in the community.
The notarized petition was submitted to the Dagupan SP to protest the anticipated approval of the resolution sponsored by Councilor Alfie Fernandez, chair of the committee on land use.
It was the same resolution that was rejected by the committee then headed by former Councilor Luis Samson Jr. because of the perceived impact of the project to the low-lying communities in Barangay Tapuac and directed Law Zoning Office to stop the illegal backfilling activities.
The residents of Barangay Tapuac protested the planned backfilling of fishponds because of the worsening flooding in their community.
The petitioners noted that the expansion project began in 2021 during the Lim administration and was allowed to proceed complying with requirements set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and neither was it granted a land conversion permit by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and other government agencies as required by law.
Attached to the petition was a video of the ongoing backfilling activities even before the corporation could apply for a permit, showing its negative impact on their community, i.e., health and welfare of residents in the barangay and on the fishery resources of adjacent fishponds in the area.
Th petitioners cited the violation of the rules for conversion of land by the corporation.
The majority in the SP also ignored a report of City Secretary Ryan Ravanzo that showed discrepancies in the numbers of the Transfer of Certificate of Title received by the SP secretariat and the TCT numbers attached to the corporation’s application for locational clearance with the City Zoning Office.
Councilor Lino Fernandez said the resolution of the Tapuac Barangay Council endorsing the project was null and void in the absence of a public hearing.
Majority Leader Librada Reyna moved for the division of the house before Ravanzo could proceed to clarify his report, and over the request of Minority Leader Michael Fernandez and Deputy Minority Floor Leader Jeslito Seen for more time to study the resolution amid the discrepancies noted by the city secretary.
All seven members of the majority voted for the passage of the resolution over the objection of the five minority members.
The backfilling of the fishponds reportedly started when Local Zoning Officer Jose Jesus Torio issued the locational clearance last year without any resolution from the SP. When questioned about his action, he said he thought the area sought to be backfilled by the corporation was within the areas declared as commercial zone in the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
Residents of Barangay Tapuac blamed the continued backfilling activities by Eternal Gardens for the prolonged floods in their communities brought about by heavy rains and high tide.
Councilor Alfie Fernandez defended the resolution saying the project will create a new access road to the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park that will eliminate huge traffic of people on A.B. Fernandez Avenue West entering it, especially during All Saints Day.
He added that the project is a new multi-million investment in the city which should not be stopped but rather encouraged. (Leonardo Micua)
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