The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has stopped the operations of the manufacturing plant of meat processing giant CDO Foodsphere Inc. in Malvar, Batangas due to violation of the terms of its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

A cease-and-desist order dated Sept. 26, 2019 was issued by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 4-A against CDO, which operates a 60,000-square meter manufacturing plant in Malvar town that produces more than 93,000 metric tons of processed meat products a year.

In stopping the operations of the CDO Malvar plant, the EMB-CALABARZON cited the “foul odor” emanating from its rendering area and wastewater treatment facility, which “causes environmental impacts and poses nuisance to public health and safety.”

In an order signed by EMB-CALABARZON Regional Director Noemi Paradana, the CDO Malvar plant was found to have violated Presidential Decree 1586 or the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System and DENR Administrative Order 2003-30, particularly Condition No. 13 of the ECC.

An ECC is issued as a Certificate of Environmental Compliance Commitment to which the proponent conforms with, after the EMB explains the conditions.

It is a certification that the proponent has committed to undertake full responsibility over the specified measure which are necessary to comply with existing environmental regulations and operate within best environmental practices that are not currently covered by other existing environmental laws.

Under Condition No. 13 of its ECC, CDO agreed that when the implementation of its project causes adverse impacts to the environment or poses nuisance to public health and safety, it “shall immediately suspend its operation until such time that appropriate remedial measures are effected.”

Prior to the cease-and-desist order, a notice of violation was issued by the EMB and ordered CDO to conduct corrective measures pertaining to the foul odor as early as October 2018, which the company failed to do.

In August this year, the EMB-CALABARZON received complaints from concerned citizens that the CDO plant continued to emit unpleasant smell during its operation in the afternoon until evening. The complaints have been validated by a team sent by the EMB-CALABARZON to conduct an investigation in the area.

“Na-observe potalaganaminnameron pong unpleasant smell, foul odor nananggagalingroonsa rendering area at doonsa anaerobic pond,” said Paranadawho led the EMB investigating team.

“This is alarming considering that CDO produces food products,” Paranada explained. She added the wastewater discharge goes to Alulod River then to Taal Lake.

Paranadanoted that in October 2018, CDO was issued a notice of violation for non-compliance with several conditions stated in its ECC, including emission of foul odor.

CDO then filed a motion for reconsideration where it promised to address the findings of EMB-CALABARZON. It even paid the corresponding penalties for the violations.

However, during a re-validation conducted by Paranada and the EMB regional office last Sept. 18 or almost one year since the notice of violation was issued, “foul odor was still prevalent, hence, effective measures were not implemented” by CDO.

“The result of the revalidation and based on the review of documents, CDO has not complied with our earlier agreements,” Paranadasaid. “The issues were not efficiently addressed.”

The latest EMB order was received by CDO Senior Vice President Arnold Alvarez. The company has 15 days from receipt to file a motion for reconsideration with the EMB-CALABARZON. ###