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PIA Press Release

Dagupan official laments conversion of fishponds to commercial lands

By Venus H. Sarmiento

Dagupan City (17 June) -- Fishponds being converted into agricultural or residential lands earned the ire of a top officer of the city government here.

City Planning and Development Officer Romeo Rosario, in an interview at the 'Pantongtongan Tayo' radio program of the Philippine Information Agency aired live over DZMQ Radyo ng Bayan, lamented the conversion of fishponds to agricultural, residential and commercial spaces.

"Most of our bodies of water like the fishponds are hastily converted into business establishments and it saddens me why the proponents of conversion are doing these," Rosario said.

Rosario also noted that the contractors of the commercial spaces are being issued permits for their digging and raising of grade activities in what used to be the home of fishes and other aquatic resources.

Marlyn Banda of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, who was also present at the radio program, explained that the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) is not a permit but rather a certificate that presents the conditionalities in construction to avoid any negative impact of the activity to the environment and to the public.

Banda added that an ECC cannot be issued to an applicant if the requirements are not met. Such requirements include an endorsement from the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Barangay and a zonal clearance.

When Rosario asked about cases of those doing their dumping at night so as not to be seen and those that do not have permits for conversion, Banda explained that if this happens, the contractors will be penalized. A cease and desist order, she said, will be issued by the Environmental Management Bureau against the erring landowner. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]

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