DAR asked to enforce cease and desist order on LNG project that caused road collapse

The Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), a sustainability think-tank, on Wednesday sent a letter to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) requesting updates on the cease and desist order it issued against Linseed Field Corporation and Excellent Energy Resources, Inc. (EERI) in light of their project causing the collapse of the Batangas-Tabangao-Ilijan-Lobo road on November 27.

CEED asked for the date and manner of serving the Cease and Desist Order and proof of receipt of Ilijan Primeline Holdings, Inc., which held the lease of the project site of the two companies, and that a criminal complaint be filed for premature conversion against Ilijan Primeline, Linseed, EERI for the continued development of the project site despite the DAR order. Primeline claims it only received the order on October 20 despite the order being issued on August 8.

According to Republic Act 8435, “any person found guilty of premature or illegal conversion under RA 8435 shall be penalized, in accordance with Section 11 thereof, with imprisonment of two (2) to six (6) years, or a fine equivalent to one hundred percent (100%) of the government’s investment cost, or both at the discretion of the court, and an accessory penalty of forfeiture of the land and any improvement thereon.” 

“We hope that DAR will act with urgency on this matter, as we have proof that construction continued even two months after the cease and desist order was issued and even after it was received by Ilijan Primeline,” said Avril de Torres, Deputy Executive Director of Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development.

CEED, a member-organization of Protect VIP, a coalition formed to protect the Verde Island Passage, filed a report for premature conversion against the corporations involved due to their conversion of agrarian land without a permit from DAR. The area is being developed for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal for Linseed, which would supply the LNG power plant owned by EERI.

“The continued construction, made worse by the collapse of the road due to their activities, shows a clear violation of the CDO. The stakeholders have already done their duty of reporting the violation. What we ask is for DAR to do its duty and hold corporations in contempt,” said De Torres.

EERI is a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation and is the subject of the recent temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals (CA) over its power supply agreement (PSA) with Meralco. Despite a plea from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. himself for the CA to reconsider its decision, San Miguel and Meralco terminated their PSA on Tuesday.