Mayor Ascutia, Mt. Labo want urgent action on Venida Pit water concern

Emilio Bulalacao, Jr. Engr I, MGB V takes a sample of the water at Venida Pit for testing for toxic chemicals.

LABO, Camarines Norte— Mayor Joseph Ascutia will personally talk to representatives of Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation (hereafter Mt. Labo) and Galeo Equipment and Mining Company (hereafter Galeo) to sort out the brewing controversy regarding the town’s water system.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Ascutia said he received reports that water from Venida Pit, which is situated on the property of Galeo, possibly has toxic chemicals that may spill over to the creek and thereafter Labo River and negatively affect the town’s water supply.

A few months ago, representatives from the DENR and the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office wanted to conduct water sampling at Venida Pit, but they were reportedly denied entry by the security guard.

Mt. Labo holds the permit to conduct remediation of the area where Venida Pit is located.

This led to a clash between Mt. Labo and Galeo.

Ascutia said mediation is urgent to resolve this pressing concern.

Accompanied by the DENR, PENRO, Punong Barangay Antonio Camoñas of Barangay Napaod, Punong Barangay Arman Hubilla of Barangay Bayanbayan, and Ruel Floterde, a representative from concerned organization BURDFI, he personally attended the water sampling at the site on Wednesday.

However, he said the sample will still be taken to Manila, where it will be analyzed for chemicals.

“We cannot afford to wait for too long, because it is now the onset of the rainy season, and the water from Venida Pit may spill over to the bodies of water of Labo very soon,” he warned.

“Water is life,” he said emphatically, explaining how the reported chemicals may affect not only the environment, but also the health of the residents. (With report from Mahatma Gan)