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Friday, February 24, 2017

Gov. Reyes on Marcopper disaster: 'What about the rehabilitation..? Hindi pa ako kasama doon'



PAGLILIHIS NG LANDAS?
Iyung mga hindi makatanda sa kasaysayan o nangyari sa nakalipas ang mas malamang na gumawa ng bagong kuwento. Maari ring may maitim na mga binabalak. Ito ang tinatawag na REVISION OF HISTORY.

Kamakalawa, tungkol na naman sa MARCOPPER disaster at mga masamang epekto ng iresponsableng pagmimina ang tinalakay ng ABS-CBN TV Patrol. May pini-PR kumbaga ang mainstream media. Dating gawi.

'Pinasarang Marcopper banta pa rin sa kalusugan.' Ngani naman.

Sabi ng reporter: 'Ayon kay Gov. Reyes ng Marinduque, hindi nabigyan ng sapat na tulong ang mga biktima ng aksidente dahil pinili umano ng minahan na makipagsagutan na lamang sa korte kaysa tulungan ang mga residenteng naapektuhan ng natapong mine tailings.'

Ang tanda naman ng mga taga-Marinduque ay TUMAKAS ngani palabas ng bansa ang mga banyaga para TAKASAN din ang kanilang mga tulong na ipinangako sa gobyerno. Hindi nila PINILI na makipagsagutan na lamang sa korte. Sila ay dinemanda ng lalawigan kaya NAPILITAN silang humarap sa Korte.

Sabi naman ni Gov. Carmencita Reyes sa video: 'What about the rehabilitation, restoration and restitution of the lives of people? Hindi pa ako kasama doon.'

Tanda naman ng mga taga-Marinduque ay may iniwang pondo (escrow) ang Placer-Dome na $12-MILLION para sa rehab ng Boac River. Nawala na ang malaking halaga, katumbas ngayon ay PHP 600-MILLION. Parang bulang naglaho at wala ni isa na makapagbigay ng paliwanag kung saan napunta. TAHIMIK O TANGGING BINGI ang mga kinauukulan.

Wala ring ipinaliwanag tungkol sa $20-MILLION na proposed settlement ng BARRICK AT MARINDUQUE GOVERNMENT na matinding ISINUKA ng mga mamamayan dahil kung anu-anong kundisyones ang iginigiit sa kanilang ngala-ngala.
Kasama na ang kundisyon na ni singkong duling ay hindi ito puwedeng gamitin sa rehabilitation o restoration ng alin mang apektadong lugar.

Tila kung ano naman ang ibig ipakahulugan ni Carmencita sa sinambit niyang "HINDI PA AKO KASAMA DOON' na dapat palang idagdag sa 'rehabilitation, restoration of the lives of people'. Ano raw daw?

'Ipinasarang Marcopper'

Tungkol naman sa paulit-ulit na pag-gamit sa report ng salitang "ipinasarang Marcopper" o "matapos mapasara", hindi naman niliwanag na ang mine site ay guwardiyado ng mga armadong kalalakihan higit dalawang dekada na, at walang basta-basta makapasok dito kahit pa galing sa gobyerno. 

Bagamat opisyal na tumutugon ang Marcopper Mining Corporation sa mga katanungang galing media, may nakapaskil naman sa mine site na babala at ito ang nakalagay:

'THE AREA IS PRIVATE PROPERTY AND ENTRY WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. BY: MR HOLDINGS, LTD'
Isa itong kabalintunaan!

HOY GISING! BAYANG INAPI-API!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The beginnings of NCCA support to Kalutang Preservation



Uploaded on YouTube June 28, 2010

Tirso Serdena, the Kalutang master thanked this blogger who conceptualized and drafted the project, Preservation of the Art of Kalutang Playing presented to NCCA in 2008, and implemented from 2009.

(From 0:55 of the video) Serdena: "Pasasalamat sa mga taong naging dahilan ng katuparan ng proyektong ito - kay Mr. Eli Obligacion na siyang nagturo sa amin kung paanong magsumite ng proposal at maibahagi ito ng NCCA..."

Kalutang playing is unique to Marinduque. Originally used as auditory signal by farmers, it later came to be associated with the moriones in the town of Gasan. Then in the 70's Tirso Serdena, a farmer, created a series of kalutang wooden instruments from twatingan and bayog trees endemic to Marinduque and used them together with other players to play popular folk melodies. It is now considered part of the town's - and Marinduque's - cultural treasures.

Tirso Serdena teaching the kids as part of  NCCA, Municipal Government of Gasan and Gasan DepEd project to preserve the art of Kalutang playing to elementary and high school students.

The National Commission for Culture & the Arts (NCCA), municipal government of Gasan under Mayor Vicky Lao-Lim, Gasan DepEd and Serdena implemented the said project in 2009, on the art of kalutang playing to elementary and high school students in Gasan town. All recognize the importance of handing down this unique skill to the next generation.

Also read:

Joining hands to preserve the Kalutang for the record

In 2008, in consultation with Tirso Serdena, locally known as the Kalutang Playing Master and with Mayor Vicky Lao Lim of Gasan, I drafted a proposal to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) entitled "Preservation of the Art of Kalutang Playing". This involved the participation of Serdena and some members of his group in the training of elementary and high school students in the rudiments of this unique art.

Traditionally, kalutang has been associated with Semana Santa and the moriones of this town as the moriones themselves bang these pairs of wood to produce the familiar sound signifing their presence. Until Serdena, in 1970, developed as entertainment, a series of such identical pairs capable of producing melodies.

(Tirso Serdena, the Kalutang master training the kids)

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts approved the project, recognizing the need to preserve, protect and promote this musical tradition and to ensure that the art is handed down to the next generation, approved a grant of Php 100,000 with the Municipal Government of Gasan as proponent.

The project has been implemented since March 2009 up to the present in fifteen elementary schools and five secondary schools in Gasan town.

Dr. Mauricia D. Borromeo, Vice-Chair of NCCA Committee on Music during a recent monitoring visit commented thus:

"Conceptual. Two levels of preservation were given due concern. The first concern being the kalutang’s traditional role and function in the Moriones Parade/March around the town as the principal “auditory signal” of the approach and presence of Moriones in the streets. Should other “signal equipment” be used or introduced, the kalutang should remain as the principal medium. 


The second level refers to the “Art of Kalutang playing”. The instrument as presently crafted by the proponent is decidedly innovative and creative but it has set limits on the repertoire. Artistry in kalutang playing can be achieved through a systematic program of development in which pedagogy is crucial.

Pedagogical. A systematic graded program of teaching and learning needs to be designed to enable kalutang teachers to be effective and to facilitate the learning of students. The unique and necessary techniques of kalutang playing must be identified. 

In preparation for artistry, a thorough training in musicianship (elements of music, music reading and performance) is needed. Pedagogically and musically sound teaching materials should be developed to build a rich repertoire not limited to simple folk songs."


According to Roselo Salvacion (Teatro Balangaw) of Gasan who was tasked as project coordinator, the same batch of elementary and high school students who were trained initially for 12 days in March 2009, continued training with the goal of performing in August 2009 for the 400th Anniversary of Gasan. 

Music teacher, Norma Soldevilla of Marinduque Midwest College was also encouraged to get involved especially in terms of musicianship and repertoire. 

Borromeo recommended to avoid competition at present. Recitals or festivals featuring achievements of students would be more positive and non-threatening, she said. Incentives in the form of performing at special community occasions or selected “free” instruments, or cash incentives to buy instruments may be given.


Borromeo also pointed out that potential kalutang players/trainers should receive musicianship training as well, i.e. music reading, harmony, and arranging songs for kalutang. Mr. Serdeña should be sent to seminar related to music, learning notes, pitches, and teaching methods.

Aware of the possibilities of a pair of kalutang that is capable of more than four pitches in order to have a complete set of major and minor scales (and chords), thus expanding and enriching kalutang repertoire, Boromeo also recommended that Serdeña increase the present range of four pitches to six and to include halfsteps. 

Continued support to these efforts is seen, in more ways than one, as a true recognition of efforts, particularly those exerted by ordinary people, such as the original Serdena Kalutang group, in contributing to the community’s sense of culture, pride, and identity. 

The positive impact of the project to the municipality’s tourism promotional efforts is also quite evident.


The above article was first posted on June 8, 2010.


PRESERVATION OF THE ART OF KALUTANG PLAYING


KALUTANG are identical pairs of wood from the twatingan and bayog trees, endemic to Marinduque, which, when banged together produce notes of definite pitches and tonal quality. Kalutang, especially in the town of Gasan has been associated with the Moriones of yesteryears. The town’s moriones roamed the town streets banging their kalutang instruments to draw attention.



In 1970, however, TIRSO SERDENA, (now 65 years old), developed a series of such identical pairs of instruments capable of producing melodies familiar to the townsfolk. Organizing a group of some eight kalutang musicians who eventually mastered the art of kalutang playing they were instant hits, and became familiar performers during community programs and special events not only in Gasan but in the neighboring towns as well.

The Kalutang band, the only one of its kind in the world, has since become a local tourist attraction, consistently gracing the pages of local tourist brochures and have been featured in national television cultural or tourism features on the province of Marinduque. Rendering folk songs and some pop melodies, they have also performed for private groups outside the island-province and have participated in national events (i.e. Independence Day celebration at the Rizal Park 1997). 

Kalutang playing is one of Marinduque’s more unique cultural charms. The need to preserve, protect and promote this indigenous tradition and to ensure that this musical skill is handed down to the next generation has been widely accepted as a must-do, yet no serious and sustained efforts have been undertaken by the authorities concerned to realize these objectives.

To realize these objectives we initiated a project (this blogger prepared the project proposal in consultation with the Kalutang group), that involves the participation of the Kalutang master, elementary schools and high schools (public and private) in the municipality of Gasan, the municipal government of Gasan and the National Commission for Culture & the Arts (NCCA). 

Project title: "Preservation of the Art of Kalutang Playing", implemented through a grant from the NCCA.

Also read:



PANGKAT KALUTANG OF BANGBANG, GASAN (Posted 2009)


Sabi: ‘Eco-tourism an alternative to mining’


Bulag, pipi at bingi naman kapag rehabilitation ng mined-out sites sa Marinduque ang usapan.

Part of Marcopper's mined-out area. Google Earth.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to develop mined-out areas into eco-tourism zones that would help rehabilitate the mining sites and provide livelihood to affected communities.
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said they are now looking at areas that have big potential for becoming eco-tourism sites, consulting with community members on the transition.
“In fact, we already identified 13 towns in Dinagat and Surigao that can be developed as such. We call this ‘mine sites revegetation’,” Lopez said during a discussion with The STAR editors and reporters yesterday.
DENR Undersecretary Philip Camara said the area would be treated as one eco-tourism site, just like what is being done in Palawan, which has many tourist destinations.
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He said it is more beneficial to divert the sites’ orientation because eco-tourism gives better quality jobs.
This way, he added, 95 percent of the income will go to the affected communities as opposed to the mining business where the bulk of profits goes to investors.
Aside from community discussions, the department is now consulting scientists on what can be harvested from a rainforest.
“Rehabilitation or re-vegetation stimulates a green economy. For every 100 hectares, it will create 1,000 livelihoods. For example, we can have agriculture wastes converted into biochar as one form of livelihood,” Camara said. - Full story on Philstar

Other Marcopper mine sites.



Friday, February 17, 2017

What DOT now says: Conversion of closed mines into ecotourism sites eyed

Will Marinduque be in the picture?

THE Duterte administration has at least P80 million in funds to develop potential ecotourism sites and help support communities affected by the closure of select mining areas.

In Photo: Mount Makiling, an Asean Heritage Park, serves as background to happy children. The mountain and its environs has multiple purposes: field laboratory for research on environment and biodiversity, an ecotourism attraction, relaxation spots through its hot springs, and a haven for mountain climbers and sports enthusiasts.

This was disclosed as Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo said she is ready to sit down  with Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez on potential ecotourism areas.

In a text message to the BusinessMirror, Teo said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) can develop closed mining areas into ecotourism sites. “We are actually talking of ecotourism so we can help communities,” she said. The Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary chairs Tieza, an attached agency formerly known as the Philippine Tourism Authority.

Asked if exploratory talks have already been held with Lopez regarding potential ecotourism sites, Teo said, “Not yet. [But] I will sit down with her on this.”

Lopez recently announced the completion of a mining audit by her department, and said she was determined to close down several mines that have violated environmental laws and those in watershed areas. Watersheds help protect the supply of drinking water of local communities, as well as irrigation water for farms.


Will DOT not ignore Marinduque this time, once named as 'one of world's top islands', in its ecotourism conversion plan?

She added that the local communities in the closed mining areas will earn more if their sites are devoted to ecotourism activities.

Tieza COO Guiller Asido explained that “part of our mandate is to develop ecotourism projects. And we have identified this effort on ecotourism as a major initiative for 2017”. - Read full story on BusinessMirror


http://marinduquegov.blogspot.com/2013/04/worlds-top-10-islands-2013-marinduque.html
'Will Marinduque make a comeback?'     

On Marinduque, CNN Travel says: 'For years Marinduque has been under the foreign trippers radar, but not for long...' 


Excerpt from CNN International's travel feature '25 killer things to do this summer'

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Recalling Marinduque's watershed forest reserves and other protected areas on this island


Amid all controversies surrounding Environment Sec. Gina Lopez' 'gift of love' to the Filipino people on Valentines' Day, the Heart of the Philippines continues to bleed. Strangely, she treats the Marinduque environmental and health concerns like it's something beneath her dignity to look into for reason only to her known.

To think that Marinduque was home to the largest copper mining operation in the Asia-Pacific Region. Now it is ranked as having one of the most denuded forests in the country. It remains the only 4th Class province in the MIMAROPA region today. Land area: 95,258 hectares; Population: 227,828 (2010).

And today, the threats of the potential collapse of more earthen dams high up in the mountains of central Marinduque, two of which had been breached causing untold suffering, are there for all to see - the stark evidence of irresponsible mining. 

All these have been thoroughly documented by scientists, local government units, civil society, media and environmental agencies. So too are the mining-related health impacts on the population - verified deaths caused by high levels of metals in the blood of children, related health concerns and definitely more of those in the coming years.

All these continue, remaining unaddressed by a government that at various times committed heavy complicity with the mines and is guilty of failure to protect its inhabitants from the very beginning.

This is a government with laws stating that mineral agreements shall not be allowed in virgin forests, proclaimed watershed forest reserves, wilderness area, mangrove forest, mossy forest, national parks, municipal forest, parks, greenbelts, game refuge and bird sanctuaries.

Think about it. In small-island, degraded and fragile Marinduque are watershed forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and mangrove forests all proclaimed as protected areas. That such areas exist in Marinduque is a wonder but perhaps unknown to many. 

Now these areas will be enumerated here before their destruction becomes real, imminent, or worse, they might already have passed that point of no return. In which case, there's no more point in calling the attention of whosoever environmental priestesses around. 

Still existing falls in Tumagabok, central Marinduque.
Photo: Morion Mountaineers Sta. Cruz Marinduque

The Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary

Marinduque is one of only 8 provinces in the country with a proclaimed Wildlife Sanctuary. It is an area encompassing the municipalities of Boac, Gasan, Buenavista, Torrijos and Sta Cruz in Marinduque which are portions of timberlands containing an aggregate area of 8,827.96 has. There are portions overlapping with the mining tenements.

Proclaimed under NIPAS, Proclamation No. 696 8/17/2004, Parcel 1 consists of  5,597.75 hectares; Parcel 2 consists of 3,230.21 hectares


Proclamation No. 696 8/17/2004 Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary

The Wildlife Sanctuary is described as a gently undulating mountain landscape falling into the coastal plains in the west and east. There is a large number of animals such as the Giant Borken Rats (Phloeomys cumingi) in this conservation area . The Philippine Pustelschwein (Sus philippensis) is now regarded as extinct on the island.



From the genus of the bats there are records of the subspecies Hipposideros pygmaeus, Eonycteris robusta and Rhinolophus rufus . In amphibians the frog species Rana magna macrocephala and Kaloula conjuncta exist in the area.


Philippine Duck. Photo: Wikipedia

From the avifauna are observations in this Wildlife Sanctuary of the Philippine duck (Anas Luzonica), the Luzon-Spatelschwanzpapageis (Prioniturus luconensis) and Rotsteißkakadus (Cacatua haematuropygia).


This portion of the Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary map clearly shows the Marcopper built earthen dams (blue color) overlapping the protected area.


Torrijos Watershed Forest Reserve

This is located in Torrijos, Marinduque and comprises an area of 105 hectares. Proclaimed as a Watershed Forest Reserve under  Proclamation No. 463 45/1932.


Map of Torrijos WFR. It overlaps with a Marcopper mining tenement.

Naampias River Watershed Forest Reserve 

This Watershed Forest Reserve is also in Torrijos, Marinduque comprising an area of 417 hectares. It is covered by Proclamation No. 357 4/20/94

In this area of residual. rushland/grassland were monitor lizards, wild pigs, deer civet cats, hornbills, jungle fowsl, brahminy kites, and aquatic fishes as identified in a 2000 study sponsored by USAID with a small group of scientists, NGO's, the government (PAWB, BFAR, LGUs), and academic institutions, titled "Saving the Hottest of the Hotspots".



Overlapping the protected areas.
Marinduque mining tenement map from MGB
.
Marinduque Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserves

In 1981, certain parcels of the public domain and/or parts of the country were declared as Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserves. They included parts of Sta. Cruz, Marinduque, specifically:

The Islands of Sta. Cruz and the Island of Salomague, the foreshoreline of Bo. Dapdap and Alabo up to the mouth of Tagum River, Malinao Creek up to Salomague Point, and the foreshoreline of Bo. Cabuyagan to the eastern side of Dating Bayan River in Calancan Bay.

This was covered by Proclamation 2152 12/29/81.


Marinduque's Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserves in Sta. Cruz

"... the Islands of Sta. Cruz and Salomaque, the foreshoreline of Bo. Dapdap and Alabo up to the mouth of Tagum River at Long. 122° 04’12” and Lat. 13° 27’45”, Long. 122° 04’27” and Lat. 13° 28’25”, Long. 122° 07’01” and Lat. 13° 29’01”, Malinao Creek up to Salomaque Point at Long. 122° 06’42” and Lat. 13° 23’12”, Long. 122° 08’42” and Lat. 13° 22’18” and the foreshoreline of Bo. Cabuyagan to the eastern side of Dating Bayan River in Calancan Bay at Long. 121° 58’20” to 122° 03’00” and Lat. 13° 30’28” all located in the province of Marinduque..."

Relevant portion of Proclamation No. 2152 declaring parts of Marinduque as Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserves.



Mt. Malindig's ecosystem. Photo: Morion Mountaineers



The summit of Mount Malindig 

Elevation: 1157 m / 3795 ft 
(Jump-off point: Sihi, Buenavista)

The summit of Mt. Malindig is a representative sample of an ecosystem in Marinduque's biogeographic zone. Mossy, old-growth forests located above 1,000 m elevations such as those in Mt. Malindig are by law protected for conservation by RA 7856 known as the National Protected Area System Act of the Philippines (NIPAS).

Summit of Mt. Malindig. Photo: Morion Mountaineers Sta. Cruz Marinduque

Low-level cloud often covers this peak where an abundance of mosses, herbs and grass thrive on the ground and vegetation. Various shrubs and fern species occupy the areas beneath the forest canopy.


Makulilis Peak of Mt. Malindig. Photo: Morion Mountaineers

Makulilis Crater Peak of Mt. Malindig
(Jump-off point: Dampulan, Torrijos)

Mt. Malindig is the largest on the island, the most popular climb and hike for mountaineers and adventure groups.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DENR cancels 75 MPSAs in watersheds


Google map shows the Marcopper dams and degraded  Marinduque waterways. Why has Marinduque's unfortunate role as the poster child for irresponsible mining, past and present, been forgotten in this 'rampage'? 

After closing and suspending 28 firms, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez continues her rampage against the mining industry as she ordered the cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSA) of sites that are within watershed areas.

In a briefing Tuesday, Lopez announced that she is revoking 37 MPSAs in Mindanao, 27 in Luzon and 11 in the Visayas which are either under exploratory stages or for possible developments.

"They were given MPSAs but after evaluation, we want to cancel it. Their MPSAs were given before my time and they are in watershed areas, how can I say yes? We can never benefit from those," Lopez said.

An MPSA is an agreement wherein the government shares in the production of the contractor, whether in kind or in value, as the owner of the minerals, and the contractor gets the rest. In return, the contractor provides the necessary financing, technology, management and personnel for the mining project.

Aside from the 75 MPSAs, the DENR will also revoke the contracts of the 23 firms that have been ordered for closure last week.

All involved companies will be given seven days to answer the show cause orders which the DENR is set to release Wednesday.

While initial investments have already been made in the affected MPSAs, Lopez maintained that she is not wary about possible jeopardy in terms of investments and loss of jobs.

"It’s the duty of the government to look after the people. We cannot say that their (investors) money is more important than the lives of the people," Lopez said.

"If they wanna invest here and rape the country, then I prefer them to go away. I’d prefer them to just go somewhere else, not here. We only want investments that will benefit us," she added.
Affront to good governance?

Hinatuan Island in Surigao de Norte ravaged by mining.
For cancellation

Among the big MPSAs ordered for cancellation include the subsidiary of Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp, Silangan Mindanao Mining Co. Inc., and its other MPSAs in Surigao, Zamboanga, and Negros, as well as TVI Resources Development Phils. and Kingking Mining Corp. of Benguet Corp.

"DENR approved 37 MPSAs to do open pit mining in Mindanao. If mining is so good and done so well then why the poorest areas are there?" Lopez said.

In Davao region, MPSAs to be canceled are Alsons Development and Investment Co. Inc., King Eagle Exploration and Mining Corp., Dabawenyo Minerals Corp., Phil. Youbang Mining International Corp., Sinophil Mining and Trading Corp., Core Mining Corp., Ore-East Mining Co. Inc. and Napnapan Mineral Resources Inc.

Furthermore, DENR will also revoke the contracts of Bright Green Resources Corp., Pacific Nickel Phils Inc., Consolidated Ores. Phils. Inc., Phigold Metallic Ore Inc., East Coast Mineral Resources Co. Inc., Kepha Mining Exploration Co., North Dinagat Mineral Resources Corp. and Rosario Consolidated Mining Co.—all of which are located in Surigao.

In Zamboanga, projects on the verge of cancellation include Siennalyn Gold Mining Corp., Solid North Mineral Corp., Atro Mining-Vitali Inc., 168 Ferrum Pacific Mining Corp., Geotechniques and Mines Inc., Roldan Dalman, Peng Cheng Metallic Resources Corp., Maharlika Dragon Mining Corp. and Czarstone Mining Corp.

To be given show cause orders

Also to be given show cause orders are Vulcan Industrial and Mining Corp. and Selenga Mining Corp. in Negros Occidental; Crescent Mining and Development Corp., Itogon Suyoc Resources Inc. and Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Company Inc. in Benguet; and Asia Alstron Mining and Development Corp. and Phil Alstron Mining Corp. in Agusan del Norte.

Up for cancellation

In Zambales, up for cancellation are Shangfil Mining and Trading Corp., San Juanico Resources Corp., Mineral Treasures Mining Corp., Mina Tierra Gracia Inc. and Westchinamin Corp.

To be canceled in Palawan are the two MPSAs of Macroasia Corp., Central Palawan Mining and Industrial Corp., Palawan Star Mining Ventures Inc., Pyramid Hill Mining and Industrial Corp. and Lebach Mining Corp.

Lopez will also revoke the contracts of Jabel Corp. in Abra, Egerton Gold Philippines Inc. in Batangas, Industries Development Corp. in Aurora, Plethora Mineral Corp. in Leyte and Pio Castillo in Cebu.

Other MPSAs for cancellation are GRCO Isulan Mining Corp., South Davao Development Co. Inc., Hard Rock Mineral Trading Inc., Alumina Mining Philippines Inc., Bauxite Resources Inc., Nickelace Inc., United Philippines and China Mining Corp.

Also to be canceled are Aglubang Mining Corp. and Alagag Mining Corp. in Mindoro; Altai Philippines Mining Corp. in Romblon; Indophil Resources Phils Inc. in Camarines Norte; and Parvisgold Inc. in Capiz.

Covered by earlier closure order

Among the 23 firms covered by the earlier closure order are Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines, Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., LNL Archipelago Minerals, Eramen Minerals Inc., AAMPhil Natural Resources Exploration & Development Corp., Krominco, Sinosteel Philippines HY Mining Corp., Oriental Synergy Mining, Wellex Mining, Libjo Mining, Oriental Vision Mining Philippines, Benguet Corp., Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp., Adnama Mining Resources, Claver Mineral Development, Platinum Development Corp., CTP Construction and Mining, Carrascal Nickel Mining, Marcventures Mining and Development Corp., Hinatuan Mining, Mt. Sinai Exploration Mining & Development, EMIR -Resources.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said the essence of the contracts is requisite to the democratic process that must be upheld and that the recent act of Lopez invades stakeholders' right to due process and is against good governance.

"The cancellation of these agreements does not rest on Lopez alone but must be collectively decided upon by the President and the Cabinet considering the adverse impact it may have on the country," the Chamber said. -  By Louise Maureen Simeon, Philstar

Also read:
Gina Lopez ignores Marinduque watersheds in mining areas in all her rants; Her conscience


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gina Lopez ignores Marinduque watersheds in mining areas in all her rants; Her conscience

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said the 23 companies which are operating on or near watersheds, caused siltation of coastal waters and destruction of watersheds, among other violations.


"You cannot, you must not, and you should not have any mining which endangers the water supply of the Filipino. No amount of money warrants the quality of life of the Filipino," Lopez said in a media briefing.
"Mining in watersheds is not acceptable to me... Your money can never ever, ever ever be more important, ever more important than the lives of the community that lives there. Never!" - Gina Lopez

But Lopez has turned a blind eye to Mogpog River in Marinduque that originates from the watershed area where the breached Maguilaguila Siltation Dam sits and has polluted the river in no uncertain terms.

Mogpog River originates from watershed areas where the breached Maguilaguila siltation dam sits. ATM photo and text.


Upper Makulapnit Dam. Makulapnit has been declared a watershed area. Photo: Luna Pongkoy Manrique

Lopez has also turned a blind eye on the Makulapnit watershed (above) within the Marcopper where part of the Boac River originates, an area that has been declared a watershed area.

Above excerpt from a Sta. Cruz municipal project proposal talks about Makulapnit as declared watershed area.

Gina Lopez's conscience

by Antonio P. Contreras, The Manila Times

ARMED with her so-called “conscience,” Environment Secretary Gina Lopez reinterpreted RA 7942, the law regulating mining in the country, and ordered the closure of 23 mining operations. It was not just mere suspension, where fines and penalties are imposed. It was an absolute closure order which only the President can reverse.

In a single act, Gina Lopez has placed her conscience above science and the law and ruled that there should be no mining operations in any watershed in the country.

She referred to a “functional watershed” as a land category, yet such technical term does not even appear in forestry science.

She premised her edict on a principle that exceeds what is provided by law.

RA 7942 already bars mining operations within watersheds, as indicated in section 19. However, the law specifically defines that such prohibition will only exist within proclaimed watershed forest reserves, and not just any watershed. Not all watersheds in the country are proclaimed as watershed forest reserves.

However, Gina Lopez’s conscience would seem to render her unwilling to take into consideration the letter of the law, or even the technical rudiments of science which are contained in the mining audit which she herself ordered to be conducted. The results of that audit she refused to recognize and even initially refused to disclose to the public for the simple reason that she disagreed with it.

Gina’s conscience must be so powerful that she has the gall to set aside the findings of a team of technical experts from her own agency who, armed with the understanding of the law and of science, made the conclusion that would not have recommended a total closure.

Who died and gave Gina Lopez absolute power to negate science and law?

No one is saying that there are no cases of mining violations in the country, and it is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources to take to task those who err, even to the point of ordering a closure of any mining operation. But as a government of laws, and of sanity, it is the burden of Gina Lopez to be more specific in laying down the basis for any drastic decision that would affect not only the fortunes of mining companies but even the lives of those ordinary people whose daily subsistence rests on employment in the mining industry.

She cannot simply rule on the basis of the principle that no mining operations should exist in any watershed in the country. She should prove that those operations are within proclaimed watersheds, which is what is warranted by the law.

She cites damage to the water table, and to the environment. This is precisely why there is a need for the mining audit, for such will outline the specific violations, presented in concise, empirically verifiable terms. This will provide the needed scientific evidence for her claims. It also ensures that due process has been respected. She who alleges violations should present proof that the closure is warranted.
Screenshot of this blogger's FB post on 2/10/16.
Gina Lopez should be reminded that she is not a priestess of the oracle who is given the sole power to interpret signs from her gods, and that she alone could communicate to the mortals, based on her so-called “conscience.”

Nobody is begrudging her sticking with her advocacy. In fact, she can engage in eco-terrorism if she wants to, and be like the radical environmentalists she exactly is, and sabotage the operations of mining companies using her creative skills in divining messages from her conscience. She can lead the singing of “I believe I can fly” while facing the mining companies in a stand-off.

But she is now the Secretary of the DENR, an agency that is ruled by law and by science. If she orders a closure of an industry that would affect not only lives but the entire economy, it has to be firmly based on law and on scientifically vetted evidence, and not just on her own biased views on the mining problems of the country.

Her arrogance in refusing to initially disclose the results of the mining audit just because she disagreed with it was contrary to the executive order signed by the President ensuring free access to public information. To her credit, she reversed that decision and eventually agreed to make the results public.

In fact, she is even committing grave abuse of discretion in ordering a closure based on her own interpretation of the Constitution and the law by citing a non-existent technical term and by simply relying on her own biased observations as an anti-mining advocate.

She speaks of green economies that she believes can provide better livelihood for people dependent on mining, but only after two years. She forgot to provide an answer to how they would live tomorrow.

Gina Lopez has to meditate hard. If she wants to remain an emotional advocate ruled by her conscience, then she should leave the DENR to those who can make decisions based on reason, law and science.


Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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