TERNATE, Cavite- A bishop and 21 priests of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) have joined the residents of Ternate, Cavite in vehemently opposing the establishment of a “sanitary” landfill within the watershed area of the said town. The religious community of the Aglipayan church in the province of Cavite expressed their unity with the anti-landfill movement through a resolution signed by Bishop Pedro Ojascastro and 21 priests from the various parishes. In the said resolution, the religious leaders cited the risk posed by the disposal facility to the environment and livelihood of the Ternatenos and the wide resistance from the town’s residents as reasons for going against the project. It will be recalled that 4,000 residents of Ternate and nearby municipalities of Maragondon and Naic marched on September 25, 2008 to show their disapproval against the controversial project. A flagship project of Governor Ayong Maliksi, the landfill is to be built in Barangay Sapang and within the Mt. Palay-Palay/ Mataas na Gulod Natural Park, the only remaining forest and the biggest watershed in Cavite. The host barangay has also been identified by the Local Water Utilities Authority (LUWA) as part of the groundwater basin area of Ternate. Once completed, the eight hectare landfill will receive garbage from Cavite’s 23 cities and municipalities. Two environmental health and justice coalitions lauded Bishop Ojacastro and the Aglipayan clergy for speaking up against the landfill project. “We laud the IFI for supporting the struggle of the Ternatenos against the construction of the landfill. The people don’t need this toxic facility that will pollute their own source of drinking water. It is time for our government leaders to listen to the people. Ternate landfill must be stopped!” said Ochie Tolentino, coordinator of the Cavite Green Coalition. “The government and people of Cavite should shy away from the expensive and destructive collect and dump waste management system. We urge them to set up and operate barangay-level materials recovery facilities to cut the untenable dependence on dumping that only hides the stinking evidence of our wastefulness,” said Rei Panaligan, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.