FTI clarifies report on LLDA account
- Rose de la Cruz () - September 14, 2001 - 12:00am
Food Terminal Inc. executive vice president Lutgarda Peralta said her agency does not owe the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) P17 million, but P1.17 million only, in arrears from environmental users fee (EUF) "collected by LLDA proportionate to the amount of pollution released by a company." The LLDA earlier claimed that FTI collected EUF from its industrial locators in its 120 hectare complex in Taguig.

In an unsigned faxed statement, Peralta who spoke on behalf of FTI chairman Anthony Abad, concurrent Administrator of the National Food Authority, said the violation committed by FTI is on the effluents standards for which a daily fine of P1,000 was imposed against it since April 29, 1997. "Said violation was corrected on Aug. 31, 1998 which resulted in the stop of penalty after 396 days (April 29, 1997 to Aug. 31, 1998)," Peralta said in a statement prepared by FTI corporate planning chief Luz Soriano.

On Feb. 15, 1999, the FTI was again cited for the same violation on effluent standards for which the same P1,000 daily penalty was imposed until FTI complied with LLDA’s effluent standards. The 2nd violation covered the period Feb. 15, 1999 to Jan. 4, 2001.

"The latest violations were incurred under the management of former FTI president Benito C. Salazar, who was appointed during the administration of former President Estrada. In fact, the new FTI management has expedited the payment of penalties incurred by the previous management. No violations of effluent standards were committed under the new FTI management," the statement said.

For the first violation, the amount of penalty was estimated at P396,000 and for the second, P569,000 or a total of P965,000. Payments made as of March 30, 2001 reached P493,000, which FTI claimed to have paid "on a regular basis according to schedule. The balance as of March 30, 2001 is P472,000."

Additionally, "FTI collected from its industrial locators sewerage fees of P8.50 per cubic meter for those meeting LLDA effluent standards and P11 per cubic meter for those not meeting LLDA effluent standards," the statement added.

Soriano said the EUF is paid to LLDA as a prerequisite for the issuance of discharge permit. Said fee amounted to P1.17 million from April 29, 1997 to Sept. 11, 2001, which is "still subject to reconciliation with the LLDA."

The FTI said the amount owed to LLDA is P1.59 million as of September 2001, a matter which is being clarified with LLDA general manager Calixto Cataquiz, who earlier proposed a swap arrangement to settle these arrears by allowing LLDA the use of FTI’s administration building for a "minimal fee" until such time that the entire amount has been offsetted. But the swap, if ever agreed on by both parties, will have to first be cleared and approved by the Commission on Audit, Cataquiz earlier said.

Soriano also claimed that FTI "has not received any demand notice for the settlement of dues but only a letter to meet the effluent standards, for which FTI sought an extension for another 45 days to resolve the waste water discharge problems."

On remedial measures undertaken by FTI, Soriano cited the upgrading of the existing treatment facility and the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Central Wastewater Treatment Facility (CWTF).

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY ANTHONY ABAD BENITO C CALIXTO CATAQUIZ CENTRAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY FOOD TERMINAL INC FTI LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY LLDA SORIANO
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