NIA PROJECT CONTROVERSY: Town mayor unfazed by Clavecilla’s warning

The town mayor of Canaman, Camarines Sur is unfazed by the warning of Usec. Marvel Clavecilla of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs (OPABA) that only a court can stop or suspend the implementation of a national government funded project.

Canaman Mayor Nelson Legaspi said that he is ready to go to court to stop the resumption of works of the construction of the NIA structure, which was ordered suspended on October 24 by Baras, Canaman punong barangay Nancy Abiada.

Through a legal action which we will file in court, we will ventilate the reasons for our opposition to the project. Almost 300 residents have petitioned to stop the project as they will suffer from flooding because of it, Legaspi said.

Legaspi said the complaint against the project came from the Baras barangay council led by Abiada, who endorsed it to the him for action.

We conducted an actual inspection of the project and based from what we saw, we decided to have the project stopped for various reasons. One is the lack of prior consultation by NIA with the local government prior to the implementation of the project, he said.

Abiada on her part said that the project will divert contaminated waste water to their town and it will cause flooding.

She said that as early as 2007, the BAHADIVISAN Farmers Irrigators Association headed by its president, Inocentes Mampo, had passed Board Resolution No. 27 opposing the inflow of water to their barangay as the water flowing out of the NIA structure coming from Villa Karangahan,CLUPA and other areas in Naga City was dirty and contaminated.

Legaspi also said that NIA wants the public to believe that its intention is to help the farmers through the project, however, the truth is the water that will come out from its structure cannot sustain palay crops and even fish cannot survive there because the water is polluted.

Legaspi and Abiada insisted that the promised desilting works of the creek downstream of the NIA projects must be undertaken first to allow the free flow of water to the river.

He said that during the meeting held in Clavecilla’s office on Jan. 6, the desilting work was agreed upon as a pre-requisite before the NIA project will resume.

However, Legaspi said that he was surprised that in the succeeding meeting held on Jan. 14, the agreement was changed and NIA was already claiming that it will proceed with the implementation of the project if the Canaman local government cannot present a temporary restraining order.

If that is the case, then we will seek legal action to stop the NIA project, Legaspi said.

In reaction to Legaspi’s statement, NIA said it will stop the implementation of its project once a temporary restraining order (TRO) is issued by a court.