May 15, 2012
THE SUPREME COURT (SC) has issued a writ of kalikasan (nature) directing mining firm Altamina Exploration and Resources, Inc., President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, and two others to reply to the petition filed by several lawmakers and local government officials seeking to stop the firm’s mining activities in Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
Promulgated by the full court on May 8, the writ ordered respondents Altamina; Mr. Aquino, as successor of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., as successor of Leandro R. Mendoza; and Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje “to make a verified return of the Writ of Kalikasan… within a non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt hereof.”
The high court issued the writ in favor of the petition for writ of kalikasan with temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) filed last May 4 by Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III; party-list representatives Teodoro A. Casiño (Bayan Muna), Raymond V. Palatino (Kabataan), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers), Luzviminda C. Ilagan (Gabriela) and Emerenciana A. de Jesus (Gabriela); and several local government officials and residents.
The petitioners asked the court for a TEPO, or a stay order, on Altamina’s extraction of magnetite or black sand and other minerals in 9,588.24 hectares of land in the Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte, particularly in the municipalities of Santa Catalina and Vigan City.
They claimed that the mining operations “pose danger to the lives, health and property of the residents of Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, particularly the municipalities of Santa and Santa Catalina and the city of Vigan.”
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