SC junks case vs San Fernando seaport project

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2014 04:41 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2014 12:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed a taxpayer's suit against the reclamation of the San Fernando Bay in La Union Province for a seaport development project.

The high court en banc denied for lack of merit the petition filed by Alfredo Tadiar against Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje, Soiltech Agricultural Products Corp., and local officials.

Tadiar urged the high court to issue a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) against the reclamation project for the alleged failure and neglect by concerned public officials to enforce environmental laws.

The DENR entered into a Foreshore Lease Agreement (FLA) with Soiltech in 2011 for a 5,590-square meter land in Barangay Catbangen, San Fernando City for the port project.

For violations of the FLA, the project was suspended in December 2013 and Soiltech was slapped a penalty of P50,000.

Despite this, Tadiar claimed that the reclamation continued, pointing out that he found concrete piles ready to be driven to wherever these were intended, and noted the presence of backhoe heavy equipment.

In junking Tadiar's petition, the high court said his concerns were already being investigated by appropriate government agencies.

"It appears that all the concerns of petitioner regarding the FLA project had already been addressed by the concerned government agencies, as in fact, petitioner even admitted in his 23 January 2014 report that 'the reclamation activity[ies] were already suspended by the proponent,

"We find petitioner's allegation merely speculative. The materials he saw in the work place are consistent with purposes other than reclamation. These are materials used for construction and as such, may be used by Soiltech in any of its construction projects," the SC said.