A PETITION letter written by top officials of Kalinga was sent to Secretary Manuel Bonoan of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) asking for ongoing and pipelined rocknetting projects in their province to be immediately stopped.
The two-page document sent to the DPWH main office on Thursday was signed by Governor James Edduba, Vice Governor Jocel Baac, and civic leaders and residents. Copies of the letter were also sent to the office of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Environment Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and DPWH Regional Director Khadaffy Tanggol.
The signatories alleged that completed rocknetting projects in Kalinga are “not environmentally and economically sound” as the government would spend about P100 million “for a certain section consisting of more or less 100 meters only.”
They implored the DPWH to investigate the alleged misuse of the funds intended for the rocknetting projects, citing overpricing and corruption involving some key officials of the province and national agencies.
They also alleged that the projects are “substandard” and will not address erosion and rockslides but instead are a “threat to life, limb, and property.”
“Our constituents do not trust their effectiveness, especially during the rainy season and after the occurrence of earthquakes,” they wrote.
The letter senders also asked the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to conduct soil and rock studies before construction, as well as for the government to include the necessity of an Environmental Impact Study or Assessment and an Environmental Compliance Certificate.
Instead of rockets, the officials are proposing the planting of endemic trees along the mountain slopes to mitigate soil erosion and “promote a more natural landscape.”
Pending the investigation and studies, they asked that the “billions of pesos earmarked and intended for rock netting in Kalinga be invested instead in concreting national roads that are not yet cemented.” – Karlston Lapniten