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Minalin residents win fight vs big piggery

MINALIN, Pampanga — Residents opposing a planned large piggery in Barangay Sta. Catalina here scored victory in their fight to protect their health, environment and home lots.

Their triumph came after Mayor Philip Naguit heeded their demand to cancel a deed of usufruct the local government unit (LGU) gave to the proponent of the P5.5-million piggery project in an LGU land in Sitio Maralumdum (Purok 7).

“As we adhere to the voice and welfare of the people, following the recent issue on the construction of the Bio-Secured and Climate Controlled Fisher Operation Facility under the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) program of the Department of Agriculture, I hereby inform the Honorable Members of the Sangguniang Bayan of the cancellation of the Agreement of Usufruct with the Minaleño First Agri-Industrial Livelihood Farmers Association,” Naguit said in his July 17 letter to the legislative board and Vice Mayor Rondon Mercado. The mayor also posted the same letter in his social media account.

In the regular session on Tuesday, July 18, Councilor Querolico Daag proposed a resolution adopting the mayor’s decision to cancel the agreement. Councilor Francisco Flores Jr. proposed a resolution requesting the mayor to order a stop to the construction of the facility for the repopulation of pigs from 300 sows. It was the vice mayor who gave due course to the appeal of residents to cancel the deed of usufruct.

The Memalen Sta. Catalina Kontra-Piggery opposed the project because the proponent held no public consultations and it located the piggery inside the material recovery facility where garbage from 15 barangays are segregated. The piggery is less than 50 meters west of the San Francisco River, a tributary of Manila Bay that has been ordered for cleanup through a Supreme Court’s continuing mandamus. The project also violated HLURB Resolution No. 674 that required a 1,000-meter distance from a built-up area which, in this case, are residences.

The proponent has no track record or experience in piggery, having been registered with the DOLE only last Jan. 9, 2023. Several of its officers and members turned out to be employees of the municipal government, the July 11 session showed.

“We thank our local officials especially Mayor Naguit for prioritizing the well-being of their constituen. We also won because we were united and determined in protecting our health, environment and what small properties we have,” said Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Tonette Orejas who is a resident in the village.

MSCKP said the fight is not yet over. In the July 18 session, its leaders urged the councilors to craft an ordinance regulating the application and operation of poultry and piggery in Minalin.