The Philippine Hybrid Energy Systems Inc.(PHESI) has been ordered to install silt booms in its wind farm project in Varadero Bay in Puerto Galera to prevent possible widespread siltation during the rainy season.
The directive came from Puerto Galera Mayor Rockey Ilagan following the complaint filed by local fishermen against the $100 million (USD) 48-megawatt (MW) wind farm project.
The complaint filed by 86 fishermen said that mud and sand running from the site’s 10-kilometer access road construction in upper Bgy. Tabinay is causing siltation of the Varedaro bay, which was their source of livelihood.
“90 percent of residents of Sitio Hondura, Bgy. Tabinay, are fishermen who depend mostly on fishing in Varadero Bay for their livelihood,” the complaint read. Fishermen also complained that their children can no longer play in the beach front and swim in the bay for “[there] are already one-foot thick in ‘banlik’ (silt), including mud and sand.”
Arvin Vilan, PHESI project engineer, said that the power company had tried to install three 20-meter silt booms in the affected areas last year, “but we were stopped from doing it by the fishermen themselves.”
Vilan added that silt ponds within the site of the road construction had been built and assured affected residents, like the fishermen, that the siltation is only temporary and will only happen on rainy days and that the company has been addressing it even before the complaint was raised.
“The debris of mud only occupies 30 meters in diameter of Varadero and containable. We’ve to install the silt booms to avoid its spread although it happens only during rainy days,” Vilan explained.
PHESI is currently constructing Phase 1 of its wind farm power project that consists of 16 megawatts of power that will be generated by eight wind towers.