Officials urge joint hearing on pig waste

February 3, 2011
CANDABA – Local officials here recently urged the Provincial Government to coordinate with officials of the town of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, regarding the alleged disposal of pig waste into bodies of water flowing into the Pampanga River.

Mayor Jerry Pelayo earlier asked members of the Provincial Board about the possibility of inviting officials from Cabiao in a joint hearing to determine the veracity of reports involving piggeries in their place.
Pelayo claimed the other day that the fishing industry in Candaba is dying because the Pampanga River–one of the main sources of fishponds’ stock water–is already polluted.

He stressed that in the past, a big chunk of pig waste allegedly from piggeries in Cabiao was found floating in the Pampanga River.

One observer expressed concern over the threat posed by pig waste, especially if there’s a huge volume of it, as it is a source of methane gas. “Isipin mo na lang yung tubig na nasa fish pond na polluted ng dumi ng baboy, paano pang lalaki ang isda? At anong magiging epekto nito sa katawan ng tao? (Just imagine what happens if water in the fish pond is polluted by pig waste. How will the fish grow? And what will be the effect on people’s health?)”

As this developed, Fourth District Board Member Ricardo “Ric” Yabut declared that per order of Governor Lilia Pineda, the Provincial Board will send a letter of communication to invite Cabiao officials to a dialogue regarding that matter.

“Pwede naman yun. Narinig naman natin si Governor Pineda na gusto din niyang magkaroon ng dialogue para dito (It’s possible. We heard Governor Pineda say that she too wants a dialogue regarding this matter),” Yabut stated.

The Provincial Government earlier initiated a “Save Pampanga River Program” intended to rehabilitate the said river for the welfare of the next generation. It was followed by a cleanup drive participated in by families living near the river together with some cause-oriented groups.

Dying industry

Earlier, local officials here blamed piggeries in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, for the pollution of the Pampanga River that resulted in the dying tilapia industry in this town.

Vice Mayor Daniel Gallardo said the Pampanga River is the main source of irrigation for farmers, and all fish operators have been using it to address their water needs in their businesses.

He believes that the contamination of the Pampanga River is tremendously hurting the local industry here, particularly tilapia breeding and crop and vegetable planting.

It was earlier learned that several piggeries in Cabiao have been discharging waste in the said river and that a big bulk of it has accumulated along the corner of the Diosdado Macapagal Dam in Arayat.

The pig waste goes directly to the Pampanga River, whenever the gates at the Diosdado Macapagal Dam open to lower the water level at the other side. This waste flows continuously from Arayat, Candaba, San Luis and San Simon down to Apalit.

Gilbert Gulapa, a resident of barangay Pasig here said, “Nung minsan nga dumating ang mga taga media, sila mismo ang nakakita sa bulto-bultong dumi ng baboy na naaanod sa ilog (One time the media got here; they themselves saw the chunks of pig waste floating in the river).”

It can be noted that earlier, several fishpond operators in this town declared a state of bankruptcy after experiencing a series of huge losses.

There were also reports of fish kill last year not only in this town but also in the neighboring towns of San Luis and San Simon.

This town was once considered a top producer of tilapia in Central Luzon. (Herbert P. Mapiles)


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