The Sino-Italy Construction Philippines Inc. is reportedly suspending its dredging project in Poblacion 4, Tambacan, Tanjay City, that has been subjected to barricades by residents who claim that it is a front for black sand mining.
In a statement dated March 7, addressed to the city mayor of Tanjay, the provincial governor of Negros Oriental, and the general public, the Moya Law Office, counsel for Sino Italy based in Bacolod City, said that “due to external forces and pressure against the dredging project in Tanjay, and to avoid further losses to the company, it is compelled to suspend the project”.
Defend Patrimony Negros Island chairman, Rev. Bobby Menguito, said something can be read between the lines, and that there is even no mention of mining which protesters believe was the real purpose of the project.
The statement said it is suspending the project, but without prejudice to the filing of a case in court against those who unlawfully violated and or disputed the memorandum of understanding, dated May 31, 2013, and the persons responsible for causing the delay and disturbance to the project.
It added that the company will seek proper relief and remedies before the courts for the settlement of its claims before referring the matter to international arbitration, it added.
Menguito said that on Friday, three unidentified persons, one of whom looked like a Taiwanese, asked that they be allowed to enter the processing plant to disassemble the machineries.
Minutes later, the protesters received a signed statement stating that, “from this date onward, the company will start to disassemble its machineries and equipment in Tanjay, and cease any trial test run”.
It further said the company already has in hand all the pertinent legal documents and permits over the project but shall suspend its operation until all parties arrive at a peaceful settlement.
Menguito said that, for the protesters, their objection is non-negotiable.
The statement was released following a resolution of the members of the board of directors and stakeholders of the company, and signed by lawyers Leon Moya Jr., Sarah Jane Dumancas, and Liza Pradas of the Moya law office.
Meanwhile, 92 individuals were summoned by the Regional Trial Court Branch 43 in Tanjay City to answer on or before March 21, the complaint filed by Mayor Lawrence Teves for abatement of nuisance, with prayer for the issuance of preliminary injunction, preliminary mandatory injunction, and temporary restraining order.
Among the defendants are Tanjay parish priest Albert Erasmo Bohol, Fr. Marcelo Quinilitan, Dodo Renacia of Barangay San Jose, Tanjay, a minor, and Barangay Captain Ricardo Fabe.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan provincial chairman Favian Magallanes said Bohol, Quinilitan, Renacia and several others have not even gone to the site, and yet, they were included in the complaint.
A source said the action of Teves is purely harassment on the part of the defendants because many of them are very poor and could not afford a lawyer. He said religious organizations in Tanjay and the BAM are negotiating for lawyers for them pro bono.*JG
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