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Ligalig-Mike

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By Associated Press
International Herald Tribune

The Philippines has canceled a permit for a South Korean company to build a spa on the crater of a restive volcano because of concerns the mountain could rumble to life and environmental violations at the site, officials said.

The spa's construction on the crater of the tiny Taal volcano, which lies in the middle of a scenic lake south of Manila, seemed like a good idea a few months ago, with locals hoping it would bring jobs and tourists.

Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes said his department originally had issued a certificate confirming that the spa's engineering plan conformed with environmental regulations.

But doubts soon clouded the project after scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised alarm, warning that the volcano, which has occasionally become active, was not safe.

Taal, in Batangas province, has shown signs of restiveness since 2005. Two earthquakes jolted the island last month, causing no damage but focusing public attention on the perils of the little-known spa project.

The small island where Taal lies has been declared a permanent danger zone, but thousands of villagers have settled there for decades, thriving on fishing and tourism. About 300 tourists visit the volcano island daily.

Corruption also was suspected.

Sen. Pia Cayetano vowed to open a probe into how a number of families were able to secure land titles along Taal's crater lake and nearby areas, which are considered public land.

The mayor of the nearby town of Talisay, Florencio Manimtim, said the spa was to be built on a six-hectare (15-acre) crater area that a local landowner sold to Korean investors. The Filipino landowner supposedly had land titles dating back to the Spanish colonial era, he said.

After traveling to the spot to inspect the construction firsthand, Reyes announced late Thursday he was revoking the license because the company, Jung Ang Interventure Corp., failed to comply with environmental regulations.

"We gave them one week, they failed, so we are canceling the Environmental Compliance Certificate," he told reporters.

He said the company did not secure a clearance from the government's volcanology institute as well as the Department of Tourism and local government units.

"I don't think they thoroughly presented the environmental impact of the project," he said.

Company officials could not be reached for comment Friday.

Taal, one of the country's 22 active volcanoes, has occasionally triggered seismic activity and geysers, and erupted mildly in 1977, causing no casualties or damage. A strong eruption in 1965 killed about 200 people.



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udtohan

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i don't understand why these people are against the establishment of a korean spa. it's meters away from the mt. taal. way back in the old korean times, the hot water near the volcano can cure ailments. the old kings and queens and the family were the only people who could avail the volcano spring.

that's why establishing a spa near the volcano could be an advantage of people who seek cure of their weary body and soul. the panoramic view can offer helaing process, too.

koreans are very careful and protectors of the environment. if you see korea, they have preserved their culture and environment than we do.

why not give it a try? if they violate environmental laws, Batangas provincial government can shut down the establishment anytime.

sometimes, people are greedy. those who are marching and protesting against the establishment of the spa are being paid by unknown people who are against it.

Ligalig-Mike

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Video of Mayon Volcano Eruption

Started by Ligalig-Mike on Philippine Daily News

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Last post December 18, 2009, 03:19:19 PM
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