‘Battle is not over!’—Envi groups to Marcventures Mining
Surigao del Sur—Diverse reactions from different organizations surfaced following the news on the supspension of Marcventures Minning Development Corporation’s (MMDC) operations in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur.
In an interview Baywatch Foundation President Emma Hotchkiss, a member organization of Cantilan Anti-Mining Coalition, said that the news that broke out last April 24 about MGB’s indictment of MMDC came as a surprise.
“Don’t get us wrong, we are happy with the decision and grateful for what MGB Director Leo Jasareno has done to put a stop to MMDC’s environmental atrocities. What bothers us however is the lack of community participation in the drafting of the final report done by MGB’s Multi-Disciplinary Team and the lack of coordination from MGB itself,” said Hotchkiss.
Hotchkiss is pertaining to the report from the assessment that MGB-MDT conducted that led to MMDC’s suspension, after the team proved that the mining company committed major mining violations such as the pertinent provisions of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2010-21, the Consolidated DAO for the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act (RA) No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
The report however, was only signed by the team leader who presided over the assessment—something that the members of the Cantilan Anti-Mining Coalition is worried about.
According to MGB’s investigation process, the report produced by the MGB-MDT assessment should be seen and signed by the members of the community and party who filed the complaint, otherwise, the result could be proclaimed invalid and thus could dismiss the case filed against the party being tried or in this case MMDC.
In a text exchange between Hotchkiss and Dir. Jasareno, the director confirmed the importance of community participation. Dir. Jasareno initially commited to a final assessment meeting with all concerned parties, but no meeting has been conducted, to date.
“What’s keeping us on edge is the lack of clarity of the reported suspension order. First, it did not state when the suspension was imposed. Second, it did not mention anything about what conditions there are for the suspension to be lifted or suspension changed to cancellation.” Hotchkiss added.
A copy of the said suspension order is yet to be acquired.
The MGB CARAGA Officer-In-Charge Engr. Noli Arreza claimed he only received a copy of the suspension order today. Since the suspension order was issued last week, April 25, the MGB allowed for the seven shipments of ore from the MMDC mine area.
Alyansa Tigil Mina, a partner organization of Cantilan Anti-Mining Coalition, has already submitted a letter to Dir. Jasareno requesting for a copy of the Multi-Disciplinary Team’s Final Report, MGB’s recommendations with regards to the Final Report, an immediate briefing with the communities and the Local Government Units (LGUs) and a copy of the MGB letter to MMDC directing it to show cause why their mining permit should not be cancelled as a result of many violations per the Mining Act of 1995.
“We are calling on DENR, MGB and EMB, especially to Dir. Jasareno to finalize the final inspection team meeting as soon as possible. The people of Cantilan deserve transparent information about this recent development and they deserve the justice MMDC has been successfully snatching out from their hands for all these years. It’s about time MMDC faces the repercussion of the crime they have committed to Cantilan and its people. It would be such a shame if these grave environmental criminals will get off the hook just because of mere technicalities,” said Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina National Coordinator.
Meanwhile, in a report by The Philippine Daily Inquirer http://business.inquirer.net/169179/mining-firm-disputes-mgb-suspension-order, Marcventures Holdings Inc. released a statement refuting MGB’s allegations to its subsidiary’s (MMDC) violations stating that MGB’s move was “arbitrary and without legal basis.” According to the same report, the company has requested the Philippine Stock Exchange for a trading suspension on its shares, citing the need to “safeguard the interests of its shareholders while the issues are resolved with the MGB.”
Cantilan Anti-Mining Coalition is an alliance of different groups and organizations dedicated to protecting the environment in Surigao del Sur. Baywatch Foundation and of CARCANMADCARLANPAR Social Action Center (VSAC) are members of the coalition.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.
For more information:
Chito Trillanes, VSAC Spokesperson, (0919) 962.51.31 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Emma Hotchkiss, Baywatch Foundation Chairperson, (0905) 493.50.61 <email@example.com>
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0917) 549.82.18 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 email@example.com
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April 28, 2014