The Philippine National Power Corporation (NPC) has reportedly threatened to pull out the power barge supplying additional power to Davao City because its engines is being destroyed by cement dust emanating from the Holcim Cement in Ilang. This was revealed by Majority Floorleader Prospero C. Nograles. He added that the House of Representative is set to look into reports that the cement factory in Barangay Ilang is violating environmental laws following such report.
Nograles said he would file a resolution calling for an investigation on Holcim’s compliance with the environmental standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The majority floorleader said there is need to check on Holcim’s operations after the power barge he requested from the NPC bogged down due to cement dusts that accumulated in the engines. The barge is docked at the Holcim wharf for some time now and supplements the power supply in the city. The congressman said it is not only the power barge that was affected by the cement dusts but the entire Sasa area as well.
"I have information that workers in the cement plant have developed lung problems due to cement dust pollution," Nograles said, noting that he had already informed DENR Secretary Mike Defensor last week about the problem and the secretary promised that their department would immediately conduct an investigation.
In a call to Holcim official Art Milan, however, Nograles said he was taken by surprise when the Davao City Chamber of Commerce texted him about NPC’s threat. "Before the Napocor brought the barge to Davao, they went to the plant and assessed the ambient air and they approved of it," Nograles said. He added that the power barge has been berthed in their factory’s wharf for free since July following the request of NPC.