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From one polluter to another

September 21, 2006

Nograles bucks Holcim perks
By Ronnel Domingo
Inquirer

A LAWMAKER has urged the Board of Investments to hold back incentives for Holcim Philippines Inc.’s P1-billion rehabilitation project for its cement factory in Davao City, saying the facility was polluting the area.

Majority Floor Leader Prospero C. Nograles, who represents the first district of Davao City, said the plant that the firm wanted to work on “has not complied with world-class environmental standards.”

In a letter to BOI Managing Head Elmer C. Hernandez dated Sept. 5, Nograles said Holcim’s plant had become a health hazard in the surrounding communities.

“I am aware and concerned (about) numerous reports of thick cement dust polluting what used to be clean and breathable air in the area, which has caused several health problems among the residents of Davao,” the solon said.

When reached for comment, Holcim senior vice president Jocelyn Perez said company officials could not give any since they have not seen Nograles’ letter.

Perez said Holcim was only seeking from BOI the duty-free importation of capital goods rather than the full set of incentives.

(For the full story, click Holcim perks, Sept. 20, 2006.)

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WITH Tommy Alcantara’s long-lasting influence in the Department of Trade and Industry, and its attached agencies like the Board of Investments, you can bet your bottom dollar that, Holcim, which his family co-owns with the Swiss, is going to get those incentives. Of course, it helps that he is an “economic adviser” of the presidentita Arroyo. (Wonder no more why the economy has gone to the cement pits.)

As you know, Holcim is also going to get the sludge from the Petron oil spill in Guimaras, for free. The sludge will be used to run the Holcim’s cement plant in Misamis Oriental. Petron of course is chaired by Nick Alcantara, Tommy’s older brother. (Scroll to the bottom upon clicking Tommy’s name.)

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