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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Walang pakundangan sa mga mamamayan ng Marinduque: Bagong pirmadong kontrata na with US lawyers

Kaya mo ba 'to? Ito ay kaso ng Provincial Government of Marinduque, pero nakasaad sa kontrata na ito ay isang PRIVATE AND COMMERCIAL (AND NOT PUBLIC) Agreement of the PROVINCE. Kaya walang pananagutan sa PUBLIKO?


Habang lumalaon, mas maliwanag na walang katiwatiwala ang mga nababahalang Marinduqueno sa pirmado nang kontratang inilatag sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Marinduque. Pirmado na ni Gov. Carmencita O. Reyes.

Dahil kaya ang nasabing kontrata ay itinuturing na napakalupit, walang habag, walang pakundangan, at walang respeto sa mga mamamayan ng Marinduque? Ang kontrata ay tila inurungan naman ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan - sa ngayon. Eh, bukas kaya?

Most Rev. Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit, Jr.
and Rev. Fr. Arvin Anthony Madla, Chair, MaCEC

Anong kontrata nga ito? Ang Restated and Amended Contract of the Provincial Government of Marinduque (PGM) with Diamond McCarthy (DM) Law Firm para sa pagsampa ng kaso sa Canada. (DM ang US law firm na dating humawak sa kaso ng PGM sa Nevada, USA).

Pangunahin ang MaCEC at ang Simbahan sa mga nagsuri sa kontrata o kasunduang nabanggit. Sila bilang stakeholders ang pangunahin ding iniimbitahan/pinapakiusapan ng SP na maging bahagi at katulong ng SP sa mga deliberations tungkol sa bagay na ito.

'Urgent' na sulat ni Gov. Reyes sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan for ratification of the contract.

Sa dami ng negatibong mga obserbasyon/komento ng stakeholders tungkol sa mga nakasaad sa kontrata ay kakayanin kaya ng mga kababayan natin na masikmura bilang halimbawa lamang ang mga sumusunod?

Sa nakasaad na Waiver of State Immunity. Ayon sa MaCEC, (No.14 sa kanilang position paper), dapat daw pakaisipin ng Lalawigan ang probisyon na ito. Maraming beses na pakaisipin at seryosohin, at pag-aralan sa tulong ng legal experts. Bakit daw? Binubuksan nito ang Lalawigan at/o ang mga opisyales na kasuhan sila sa kasalukuyan o sa darating na panahon.

Isa pa, ang Paragraph B of XII ng kontrata ay nagpapahintulot din sa future execution against assets of the Province in the present and in the future resulting from waiver of its rights. Ayon sa nakakaunawang Diocese of Boac at pangunahing pangkalikasang organisasyong MaCEC.

“... the Province irrevocably and unconditionally acknowledges that the execution, delivery and performance of this agreement constitute PRIVATE AND COMMERCIAL (and not Public) acts of the province”

Masasabi kayang isinasangla pa sa di pangkaraniwang pagkakataong ito ang mga paglalagay sa alanganin ng mga assets ng Lalawigan? Baka mapadilat pa ang mga mata ng mga minamahal nating Marinduqueno sa mga sumusunod:

On the Private and Commercial (Not Public) Nature of the Agreement. Ayon sa MaCEC, VII.C. of the document mentioned “that the Province irrevocably and unconditionally acknowledges that the execution, delivery and performance of this agreement constitute PRIVATE AND COMMERCIAL (and not Public) acts of the province”.

Ano nga naman ang mga implikasyon nito sa katunayang ang Client ay isang Government Institution/Local Government Unit at ang mga Opisyales na nakikipagkasundo sa law firm/pagpipirma ng mga dokumento bilang mga kinatawan ng mga mamamayan na kanilang pinagsisilbihan – ang PUBLIKO?

Dapat daw isaalang-alang na ang mga opisyales ng bayan bilang mga kinatawan ng mga taumbayan ay nanumpa ng Oath of Office at nasasailalim ng Civil Service Laws, Code of Conduct and Standards of Public Officials and Employees, maliban pa sa iba. At ang Konstitusyon daw mismo ay nagsasaad na sila bilang mga namumuno ay may pananagutan sa taumbayan, accountable to the people.

Ang Diocese of Boac at MaCEC na matagal nang nakatutok sa usaping ito at palaging imbitado sa mga pagpupulong nang nagsumite na noon pang nakaraang taon (maging noon pang 2016), ng kanilang masasabi o kinatatayuan sa usaping ito at kanilang mga rekomendasyon. Subalit ayon nga sa kanilang position paper ay “none of these was acted upon by the PGM and or the said law firm thus, “for every new contract presented before the stakeholders and Marinduquenos in general have been onerous and unacceptable.”

PARA SA KAALAMAN NG LAHAT. Anong mga dark secrets kaya ang nasa likod ng pagpipilit gamitin ang mga abogadong Amerikano sa kasong isasampa sa Canada or 'anywhere in the world' kasama na ang Pilipinas?

Isang pagkakataon ng pagbabantay ng mga miyembro ng
MaCEC sa Session Hall para makinig 

Para sa kaalaman ng lahat, direktang isinumite ng Diocese of Boac at ng MaCEC ang kanilang pinakahuling position paper (English) submitted to the Governor at SP noon pang November 2017, at muling isinumite noong May 10, 2018, na nagsasaad (translated, see copy of original document for cross-checking), na:

1.       Ang kontrata ay hindi patas at makasasama pa sa interes ng Lalawigan. Mas binibigyang diin ng kontrata ang karapatan ng law firm, pero  may kalabuan pagdating sa obligasyones at pananagutan nila sa Lalawigan (paulit-ulit lamang na sinasabi na ang maisasad lamang nila sa kontrata ay kanilang opinion at kawalan ng katiyakan,  (“opinions”… “no assurance”), magiging napakamahal para sa Lalawigan at walang magagawa ang Lalawigan kundi tanggapin ang kanilang magiging desisyon base sa kanilang “opinions” na nangangahulugan lamang na magiging mas magastos ito para sa probinsya; labis na diskresyon ang ibinibigay sa law firm kasama na rito ang sole discretion pagdating sa arrangement with local lawyers, kasama ang marami pang iba.

2.      Matapos hinawakan ang kasong ito ng lagpas na sa isang dekada, sa dokumentong ito ay ni hindi mabigyan ng katiyakan ng Diamond McCarthy na magsasampa sila ng kaso at/o dalhin ito sa paglilitis. Matatandaang mula pa noong 2005, ng hinawakan ni Walter Scott ang kaso, ang intensiyon ng probinsya mula pa sa simula ay magsampa ng kaso, litisin, at usigin para magkaroon ng favorable court decision, at hindi pangunahan ang pagkakaroon ng “out of court negotiation o settlement”, dahil kung ganito rin lamang ay maaaring kumuha na lamang noon ng batikang mediator o broker.

3.      Sa dokumento, isinasaad na walang Kasunduan o pakikipagkasundo na magaganap na hindi muna kinukunsulta ang law firm at pinapayagan ang law firm na makibahagi sa mga ganoong negotiations. Subalit, ang kabaliktaran naman nito ay wala. Walang sinasabi ang dokumento na anuman tungkol sa mga direktang representante ng Lalawigaan na dapat makisali sa negotiations na isasagawa ng law firm. In substance, pagsusumite ng payo at resulta lamang ng negotiation sa lalawigan ang nakasaad.

4.      Palaging nakasaad sa dokumento ang mga katagang “reasonable time… for valid reasons”, must not unreasonable withhold or accept (Firm’s advise)… subalit ano ang basehan kung ano ang ‘reasonable at not reasonable’ na dapat gawin ng mga partido? Paano kung ang inihahain ay labis na mapang-abuso at di katanggap-tanggap para sa probinsya tulad ng mga kondisyones at ‘stipulated facts’ na inilatag ng law firm para tanggapin ng Lalawigan noong nakaraan, na kapag hindi tanggapin ay maituturing na ngayong “Termination Without Cause”?

Mga sakit dulot ng mga lasong kemikal, pagwasak ng karagatan na naging
sanhi kung bakit ang lugar na ito sa Calancan Bay ay isang 'No Swim Zone'.

 5.      Almost blanket authority. Halos blanket authority ang ibinibigay ng kontrata sa law firm sa pagtantiya sa resulta/kalalabasan ng claim. Sinasabing nasa Lalawigan nga ang final decision, subalit ang mga nakasaad sa kontrata ay nagtatali sa kamay ng lalawigan para makahanap pa ng ibang options at direksyon kahit pa ito’y makakasama ng todo sa interes ng lalawigan.

6.       Sa pag-aanalisa ng mga probisyon sa kontrata, bagamat hindi tahasang sinasaad, ang panukalang Restated and Amended Contract ay halatang nakatuon at nakatutok sa “out of court negotiation and settlement”, at ang pagtitiyak na kung ano man ang dikta ng law firm ay dapat tanggapin ng Lalawigan kahit ito pa ay hinding-hindi katanggap-tanggap, sapagkat ang kapalit nito ay magiging pagkalugi (halimbawa, ang di pagtanggap sa settlement advise ay maaaring maging dahilan ng pag-urong ng law firm at maaaring gamiting dahilan bilang “termination without cause”. Kaya’t no choice ang Lalawigan kundi tanggapin na lamang ang isang unacceptable settlement offer/terms na dinidikta ng law firm.

7.       Ang dapat isagawa ay ang pagtutok una sa lahat sa pag-uusig ng kaso sa korte at paghahanda para sa ganung pakay, at hindi ang pakikipag-ayos sa labas ng korte at settlement na lumalabas na doon napaka-interesado ang law firm. Nakasaad na “Firm’s conduct of any and ensuing negotiations” ay nakamandato na sa dokumento at ang law firm ay binibigyan ng blanket authority na gawin ito para sa probinsya na hindi naman dapat… ang Lalawigan ang dapat magkaroon ng sole authority na magdesisyon sa bagay na ito at dapat magkaroon ng direktang partisipasyon sa proseso. Hindi maaaring bigyan ng blanket authority ang Firm kung kailan at papaano at sa anong pagkakataon ito dapat simulan at maganap. Kaya, ito ay dapat mapasailalim sa ibang agreement/pagbibigay ng authority ng Lalawigan sa Firm.

8.       Walang garantiya. Ang dokumento ay maraming beses na nagsasaad na hindi nagbibigay ng guarantee ang Firm kundi ang ibinibigay nito ay mga opinyon lamang. Ano ngayon ang pananagutan ng Firm sa mga isasagawa nito na mapapatunayang prejudicial sa interes ng Lalawigan na sanhi ng kanilang failed professional judgment? Ano ang kanilang accountability? Kundi ang oportunidad lamang na ma-terminate sila with cause na kung saan makatatanggap pa rin sila ng kabayaran?

9.      Magkano ba ang dating halaga na nagasta na? Ito ay dapat malaman at stipulated… di pwedeng hula lamang at isaad lamang na “it is the sole and only agreement of the parties and supersedes any prior written or oral understandings or agreements between parties”. Kayat bawat detalye ay dapat nakasulat sa kontrata at matanggap ng mga partido. Ang mga detalye ng halaga ng serbisyo ni Scott at DM na isinama na sa dokumento ay dapat munang ipaalam at matanggap ng lalawigan.

       Sa pagsali ng LOLG (Canadian law firm) bilang local counsel ay hindi dapat automatic. Ang Lalawigan ay dapat maging bahagi ng selection process sa pagpili ng law firm na magrerepresenta dito sa Canada at tiyakin na hindi ito nag-abogado para sa Barrick/Placer Dome at/o alinman sa mga subsidiaries nito. Ang DM ay dapat magpakita ng pruweba na sila ay kumunsulta at nagbigay ng patas na oportunidad sa iba pang law firms. Ang profile ng LOLG gayun din ang track record at nahawakang mga kaso na may kinalaman sa defendants ay dapat iprisinta/isumite sa lalawigan para maisaalang-alang.

Isinuka na ng bayan makailang-ulit ang mga abogadong Amerikano at mga ginawa nilang paghawak sa kaso sa Nevada, US. Bakit kaya iginigiit ng ilang nakaupo sa katungkulan sa pangunguna ni Gov. Reyes?


11.   Sa pagsali ni Scott. Dapat ay labas na siya sa kaso “without prejudice” sa kabayarang dapat mapunta sa kanya para sa dati niyang ginawa.

12.    On Warranty. Karamihan kung di man lahat ng mga provision sa “Client’s Representations and Warranties” ay dapat munang liwanagin dahil napaka-mapanganib para igarantiya ng Lalawigan. Kung may maging kamalian sa mga ginagarantiyahan ng Lalawigan, maaari itong maging dahilan ng Withdrawal of the Firm or Termination Without Cause at maging dahilan ng pagdedemanda sa Lalawigan.
On V.2, Ang Lalawigan ng Marinduque ba talaga ay may “exclusive right”? Ano ang implikasyon nito sa mga kasong naihain na ng iba pang mga partido, lalo na ang mga kasong ni-recognize na ng PGM at ng law firm sa dating naisagawang mediation process. Kayat alam ng Lalawigan na may mga ganitong kaso.
On V.3., Magiging mas tumpak para sa Lalawigan na tiyakin muna na walang Notice or Approval of Third Party ang talagang kakailanganin.
On V.3., Ang katiyakan na walang counterclaim ng alinman sa mga Defendants ang magaganap ay hindi magagarantiyahan.

13.   On Covenants and Agreements (VB). Ang mga ito ay hindi katanggap-tanggap. Halos lahat ng mga stipulations na gagarantiyahan ay prejudicial sa interes ng Lalawigan, at magiging labas na sa control ng Lalawigan kung isasaalang-alang ang mga proseso ng gobyerno at democratic/representative nature ng Gobyerno ng Pilipinas. V.B.3. ay maaring tukuyin bilang tangkang pagpapatahimik hindi lamang sa Lalawigan kundi maging sa mga stakeholders.
V.B.b. Dapat baguhin ang pananalita dito na ang ibig sabihin ay magsisimula lamang ang proseso ng negosasyon para sa settlement kung may offer at matibay na posibilidad na may makuhang claim na hindi bababa sa $300M.
V.B.e. na nagsasabi tungkol sa settlement na mas mababa pa sa $75M ay hindi dapat banggitin, hindi naaayon sa iba pang mga probisyon at dapat alisin.


Sitwasyon sa Brgy. Booboc kung saan dumadaloy ang isang ilog na permanente nang namatay ng walang kalaban-laban dahil sa lason na galing sa minahan


On determination of Cost. Ano ang magiging papel ng Lalawigan? Ano ang Procedure? Paano ang pag-monitor? Ano ang magiging standard rate? Ang control ng Lalawigan para tiyakin na ang provision for cost ay hindi aabusuhin? Ang Cost ay walang identified ceiling/limit. Dapat ito ay maayos na nakasulat para matiyak na ang Lalawigan ay hindi maiwanan na napakaliit lamang ang net proceeds. Ang Cost ng previous engagement with Scott and DM tungkol sa kasong isinampa sa Nevada na dapat i-recognize at isama sa bagong dokumento ay dapat munang i-scrutinize, i-audit at i-apruba ng Lalawigan at dapat nakalahad ng detalyado sa bagong dokumento. Hindi ito dapat maging bukas sa iba pang interpretasyon dahil ang dokumento ay nagsasabing it supersedes even previous verbal agreement. Ang financial provisions ng dokumento kasama na ang katotohanan na ang Lalawigan ay may little say lamang sa halaga ng acceptable settlement ay nangangahulugan na ang Lalawigan ay maaaring maiwan ‘with very little’. Ang mga lawyers’ billing fees and costs ay isasama (maaaring balikan pa ang Nevada case) ngunit ang Lalawigan ay mababayaran lamang ng 55% ng kung ano man ang matira pagkatapos noon – at maaaring napakaliit na nito.

14.   On Firm’s representation on matters related to the Province’s claim. “anywhere in the world”, ay dapat ituwid dahil hindi kailanman ito naging intention ng lalawigan noong 2005 kung isasaalang-alang ang konteksto ng panahong iyon. Katawatawa na kung ang Lalawigan ay magdesisyon na ituloy ang kaso sa Philippine courts, ay kakailanganin pa rin na gamitin ang DM sa ganoon ding mga kondisyones. Ang particular na probisyon na ito ay lalo pang naglalagay sa Lalawigan sa isang napaka-lopsided position. Matibay ang pakiramdam namin na ito ay isang mas masahol, mas restrictive at hindi balanseng kontrata kaysa sa dating kontrata. May kadahilanan kung bakit gusto nilang palitan ang dating kontrata at ito’y tila sa kagustuhan na bigyan ang mga abogado ng mas unfettered  decision at mas marami pang mga karapatan, habang matinding restrictions naman sa ahensya ng Lalawigan.

15.   Waiver  of State Immunity. Dapat isipin ng Lalawigan ang probisyon na ito ng maraming beses at seryosohing mabuti sa tulong ng legal experts dahil binubuksan nito ang Lalawigan at/o ang mga opisyales/mga kinatawan sa posibilidad na kasuhan sila sa kasalukuyan o sa darating na panahon. Paragraph B of XII ay nagpapahintulot din sa future execution against assets of the Province in the present and in the future resulting from waiver of its rights.

16.   On the Private and Commercial (Not Public) Nature of the Agreement. VII.C. of the document mentioned “that the Province irrevocably and unconditionally acknowledges that the execution, delivery and performance of this agreement constitute PRIVATE AND COMMERCIAL (and not public act) of the province”.
Ano ang mga implikasyon nito samantalang ang Client ay isang Government Institution/Local Government Unit at ang mga Opisyales nito ay nakikipagkasundo sa Firm/pumipirma ng mga dokumento bilang mga kinatawan ng mga mamamayan, ang sinasakupan nito – ang PUBLIKO. Dapat isaalang-alang na ang mga opisyales ng bayan bilang mga kinatawan ng taumbayan ay nanumpa ng Oath of Office kayat nasasailalim ng Civil Service Laws, Code of Conduct and Standards of Public Officials and Employees, bukod pa sa iba. Ang Konstitusyon mismo ay nagsasaad na sila bilang mga namumuno ay may pananagutan sa bayan.

17.   On “XIV. Your Independent Determination as to Fairness and Reasonability”. Ang Lalawigan ay sinisiguro na “the Province had ample opportunity to review the Agreement independently and to the extent that the Province has chosen to do so, reviewed the Agreement with a separate law firm.” Dapat munang gawin ito ng Lalawigan bago ito mag-warrant. Ang ilang araw lamang para pag-aralan ang mga mahahalagang dokumentong ito ay hindi maaaring sabihing sapat na panahon para makapag-desisyon. Pag-susuri ng independent firm na katanggap-tanggap sa stakeholders ay marapat gawin at ang resulta ng pag-aaral ay ilahad sa mga stakeholders para sa impormadong partisipasyon at desisyon.

Mga lokal na opisyal ng lalawigan ng Marinduque at bayan ng Boac na nakikipagpulong sa MaCEC hinggil sa usaping ito. Mula kaliwa, Kon. Rolly Larracas, BM Reynaldo Salvacion, BM John Pelez, BM Mely Aguirre,  Ms. Catherine Coumans (bisita), Vice-Gov. Romulo Bacorro, Ms. Beth Manngol (Secretariat Head ng MaCEC), Engr. Luna Manrique, Kon. Sonny Paglinawan, BM Primo Pamintuan at dating Bokal Lyn Angeles.

(All photos courtesy of MaCEC)

(May kasunod)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Di matapos-tapos na Kagilagilalas na Epiko ng Marinduque: Ano ang latest tungkol sa usap-Marcopper

Napaurong ang SP sa pag-ratify ng panibagong kontrata na pirmado na ni Gov. Carmencita O. Reyes

Aerial view ng dredge channel sa bunganga ng Boac river na dinaanan ng tailings papuntang dagat taong 1996. Larawan mula sa Newsbreak/ Marcopper Mine Post-Spill Impact Assessment December 2001 report

Sa kasagsagan ng kampanyahan para sa Barangay at SK Elections sa Marinduque, nagulantang ang maituturing na pinaka-aktibong organisasyon sa islang-lalawigan. Ito ang Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MaCEC).


Biyernes, Mayo 11, 2018, 2:00 n.h. sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Marinduque.

Naka-agenda na ang opisyal na hiling ng Governor Carmencita O. Reyes na iratipika ang isang kontrata, Restated and Amended Contract of Diamond McCarthy na pirmado na ng Gobernador.

Di naputol kahit kailan kayat tuloy-tuloy, sa loob ng maraming taon, ang pagtutol ng MaCEC bilang isa sa pangunahing stakeholders at ng Simbahan, pagtutol na bigyan ng authority ang Gobernador na pumasok sa isang kontrata sa Diamond McCarthy. Ito ay hinggil pa rin sa kaso laban sa Marcopper/Placer Dome, Inc./Barrick Gold na napagkasunduang isasampa sa Canada.

‘Onerous and unacceptable’, ('Nakagagambala at hindi katanggap-tanggap', ang ginamit na mga salita patungkol sa nasabing kontrata sa isang position paper ng MaCEC.

Nagsimulang dumating ang mga miyembro ng MaCEC para makinig sa labas ng session hall.

Sa pagkakataong ito ay dumalo ang blogger na ito sa Sanggunian para manood at makinig ng opisyal na pag-uusap tungkol dito. Nadatnan ko sa labas ng session hall ang may mga 50-katao na mga miyembro ng MaCEC na nakahanda ring makinig. Naroon din ang Obispo ng Diocese of Boac, ang Most Rev. Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, si Rev. Fr, Arvin Madla, Chairperon ng MaCEC, si Ms. Beth Manggol bilang Secretariat Head at iba pa nilang mga kasamahan.

Most Rev. Bishop Marcelino Maralit at ang blogger na ito

Pagkakita sa akin ng isang nakangiting bokal na babae ay kaagad akong pinapasok sa loob ng session hall, kasabay ng Mahal na Obispo na sa unang pagkakataon ay nakadaupang palad ko. Isa-isang dumating ang mga opisyales, sina BM Tet Caballes, BM John Fernandez, BM Mark Seno, BM Primo Pamintuan, BM Harold Red, BM Alan Nepomuceno, BM Mely Aguirre at Vice-Governor Romulo Bacorro, Jr.

Nang sinimulang talakayin ang hinggil sa ratification ng kontrata ay tinawag ang Obispo para hingan ng kanyang mensahe. Binanggit ng Obispo na umaga pa lamang ay naisumite na niya ang position paper ng MaCEC na kanya ring pinirmahan, kaya’t ito na lamang aniya ang kanyang babasahin para sa kaalaman ng lahat.

Panalangin para sa kaliwanagan sa simula ng SP session.

Sa nasabing position paper ay nakahayag ang salitang ‘vehemently’ o  mainit na pagtutol ng MaCEC bilang pangunahing organisasyon at ng Simbahan na nagsusulong ng environmental protection at social justice, pagtutol sa Ratipikasyon ng pirmado nang kontrata.

Bahagi lamang ng nasabing dokumento ay ang mga sumusunod:

“Whereas, the organization and the local church for several times have strongly expressed its objection as articulated in the previous position papers submitted to the Provincial Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in relation with the continuous engagement of PGM with Atty. Skip Scott/Diamong McCarthy Law Firm, specifically the granting of authority to the Governor, Hon. Carmencita O. Reyes, to enter into contract with the said law firm on their Restated and Amended Contract for the filing of case in Canada.

“Whereas, several comments and recommendations have been clearly expressed by the organization and other stakeholders but none of these was acted upon by the PGM and or said law firm thus, for every new contract presented before the stakeholders and Marinduquenos in general have been onerous and unacceptable.

“Whereas, all previous contract between the PGM and Atty. Skip/DM has been expired since the Nevada Court Decision dismissing the case due to lack of proper jurisdiction. All obligation was due only with the case in Nevada, since there is no recovery, Atty. Skip/DM could not demand litigation cost, under the contingency clause. Therefore, services rendered terminated.


Kopya ng position paper ng MaCEC na isinumite sa SP 'vehemently expressing opposition to the ratification of the signed restated and amended contract of the PGM with Diamond McCarthy law firm.

“Whereas, the organization is in receipt of the invitation from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Environmental Protection, Human Ecology & Disaster Preparedness on the committee hearing scheduled on May 10, 2018 to discuss the letter of Governor Carmencita O. Reyes requesting ratification of the Restated and Amended Contract of Diamond McCarthy as already signed by her.

“Whereas, it is the power of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to give authority to the Local Chief Executive to enter into contract with any program and/or projects to be implemented by the province, thereby in relation with the the above-mentioned request of the Hon. Governor, it is now in the powerful hands of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to properly scrutinize the said request before rendering its decision, to avoid putting themselves and the people they represent at risk. This, always in accordance to the conditions of the law under Republic Act. 9184, to which all civil servants are to be held accountable for any contract or project that are considered not in accordance to the same principles as provided for by the same Republic Act.

Consistently, we oppose the granting of authority to the Governor to enter into contract with DM for the case against Marcopper/Placer Dome, Inc./Barrick Gold in Canada. Unless the proper process is followed and an objective manner of procuring our legal representation in this case is done, this is onerous and unacceptable. In this particular request, we vehemently express opposition and call the attention of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan not to ratify the signed Restated and Amended Contract of the Provincial Government of Marinduque and Diamond McCarthy Law Firm…"

The said document was signed by Rev. Fr. Arvin Anthony J. Madla, J.C.L. as Chairperson of MACEC and noted by Most. Rev. Marcelino Antonio M. Maralit, Jr., D.D., Bishop, Diocese of Boac.

'The calm... before the storm' ang pinost ni Fr. Arvin Madla at larawang ito, kuha sa harapan ng Kapitolyo. Facebook page ng MaCEC

Bilang tugon sa matinding pagtutol ng MaCEC, pagtutol na inihayag ng Obispo ng Boac sa mga kinauukulan, walang Ratification na naganap sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan. 

Sa halip ay inirekomenda na lamang ng Sanggunian na isumite ang lahat ng kaukulang dokumento sa bagong itinalagang Provincial Legal Officer at iba pang mga kinauukulan na dapat makaalam para sa kanilang makabuluhang pag-aaral sa bagay na ito - ang di matapos-tapos na kagilagilalas na Epiko ng Marinduque. Ngayon ay ika-22 taon na mula ng maganap ang makasaysayang kadustahang ito, tinaguriang isang 'significant historical infamy'.

On Marcopper: Cloud over ADB

Parang mahirap nang makinig ng awiting, "Could we start again please?" Kahit ano pa ang sabihin ng NGO Forum on ADB, a civil society organization, sasabayan ko ng "It's more than a miracle..."
Anang nasabing org, ADB must be held liable for the environmental destruction caused by projects funded under its portfolio, in particular, the Marcopper Mining project which the ADB funded until 1994. In 1996, the drainage tunnels of Marcopper Mining Corp. open pit broke, causing the mine waste leakage to drain into and pollute the Boac River.

Google Earth image of cloud reflected on abandoned Marcopper dams.

Cloud over ADB


The Philippines hosted the 51st Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) attended by about 3,000 delegates—including finance ministers, central bank governors, bankers and officials.

Such annual meetings have become a premier forum for discussions on economic and social development issues in Asia and the Pacific. Some of the country’s top public officials and investors will be delivering talks about the prospects of the Philippine economy, and testimonials on doing business in the country.

But not everything is rosy for the Manila-based multilateral lender. A few months after its last annual meeting in Yokohama, Japan, there were calls for the ADB to be stripped of its immunity from suit. The NGO Forum on ADB, a civil society organization, claimed that the ADB must be held liable for the environmental destruction caused by projects funded under its portfolio, in particular, the Marcopper Mining project which the ADB funded until 1994. In 1996, the drainage tunnels of Marcopper Mining Corp. open pit broke, causing the mine waste leakage to drain into and pollute the Boac River.

The ADB’s immunity from suit was again challenged in January 2018 after a petition was filed by former ADB employee Matthew

Westfall in the Court of Appeals, seeking to hold the bank and its officers accountable for “abuse of right” and defamation for supposedly bypassing him for promotion unceremoniously and allegedly fabricating “allegations of ineptitude, lack of professionalism and incompetence against him to justify their (action)” despite having full knowledge of his credentials.

Westfall had also previously filed criminal charges for libel and grave slander against said officers, after which ADB terminated him. This is reminiscent of the case of Liang versus People where the Supreme Court ruled that the immunity granted to officers and staff of the ADB was not absolute and was limited to acts performed in an official capacity. Furthermore, the Supreme Court held that the immunity could not cover the commission of a crime such as slander or oral defamation in the name of official duty.

Will this case find its way into the annals of jurisprudence as the case of Liang did? Only time will tell. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Duterte plans to shut down open pit mining by year’s end; will he find time to visit Marinduque's abandoned open pits?

Is President Duterte also thinking about abandoned open pits such as those in Marinduque's Marcopper mine? These were abandoned after the so-called Marcopper mine disaster of 1996 that polluted the Boac River. 

The episode was officially declared as a 'significant historical infamy'. Yet until today, 22 years after the disaster the heavily polluted open pit freely discharges into the rivers below and more so during storm events.

And guess what? Concerned government units and agencies are practically prevented from inspecting the site when undertaking needed inspection related to threats to lives and property. These threats such as one caused by leaks in a diversion tunnel and dams in danger of collapse have been validated by the science community.

In various forums related to irresponsible mining the Marcopper case has consistently been a favorite subject for more than two decades now, probably the most documented among all such tragedies earning for itself the title, 'poster child of irresponsible mining'.

Nothing has happened to perennial calls for environmental justice to this never-ending Marinduque saga. In spite of repeated promises and applause - whoever is sitting as President. 'O bakit kaya?....' the song goes.




Duterte plans to shut down open pit mining by year’s end
By Genalyn Kabiling, Manila Bulletin

President Duterte is mulling the shutdown of open pit mining by the end of the year if such mineral development operations don’t clean up their act.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his departure statement at the Ninoy International Airport before leaving for the Republic of Korea where he is scheduled for a three-day on June 3, 2018. The President is set to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a summit which aims to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations. 

Addressing the Filipino community in South Korea, the President admitted that he opposes open pit mining due to the damage caused on the environment.

“Marami tayong problema. Mining – ‘yan open pit, it’s destroying the country… Baka ipasara ko talaga ang mining na open pit [We have many problems. Open pit mining is destroying the country… I might close down open pit mining],” Duterte said in his remarks.

“Either we have to reinvent mining in Philippines or sarado kayo lahat [you’ll all be shut down] by the end of the year,” he said.

Despite the huge revenues from mining operations, Duterte said the government must make “compromise” to prevent the further degradation of the environment caused by mining. “We have to limit destruction of the environment,” he said.

Marcopper's open pit mine in Marinduque. Maybe just lip service and 'action' by many presidents?

Last April, the President ordered mining firms to conduct tree planting projects and threatened to ban open pit mining next year. The government has banned new open pit mines last year due to the alleged widespread destruction to the soil and environment.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Promoting ecotourism in Marinduque gain House committee approval


Maniwaya. Creating more jobs and improving local livelihood.


 Ecotourism projects are meant to create attractive tourist destinations without depreciating the environment and nature. On 23 May 2018, the House Committee on Tourism approved three Ecotourism Bills sponsored by Cong. Lord Allan Velasco. 



The three House bills numbered 7022, 7023 and 7024 are specifically aimed to conserve and develop the Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Torrijos White Beach and Station Balanacan, the Datum Origin of Luzon Datum of 1911, into ecotourism areas.

Original tower of Sta. Cruz Church built in 1714, the oldest in Marinduque

Appearing before committee members, resource persons and observers, Velasco endorsed these House measures by presenting a tourism video which showcased the wonders and beauty of his province of Marinduque. The video was able to highlight the unlimited potential of his province and this country to become a top tourist destination.

Luzon Datum of 1911. Marinduque as center of the Philippines

Thereafter, the Committee on Tourism, led by Chairperson Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, approved the bills. At a time when environmental protection and conservation are at the forefront of global issues, these legislative measures are very timely indeed, and are helpful reminders of the importance of nature.

Kawakawa Falls in Brgy. Bangcuangan, Sta. Cruz. Photo: Lantaw

These Ecotourism projects will certainly address the need to observe sustainable development in the island-province and the protection of its eco-system.

Bagumbungan Cave in Brgy. San Isidro, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This blogger first sounded the Dengvaxia alarm on Feb 2016, as vaccine was yet to be reviewed by WHO

Dengvaxia victims. Photo Edd Gumban, Philstar

President Rodrigo Duterte will create a three-man panel of experts to study the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine that has been blamed for the deaths of over 60 children, Malacañang said on Tuesday.


In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, “The President, after much discussion, said he will create a three-man panel of experts, all Asians, no Westerners and he will be bound by the findings of these three-man experts on the issue of whether or not dengvaxia actually caused deaths.”

Last month, the Department of Health said 62 children have been reported to have died after receiving the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine under the government’s immunization program. (Inquirer)

More than 60 dengvaxia deaths now!

This blogger was the first to sound the alarm as early as Feb 13, 2016 on this controversy through my blog, “WHO yet to review evidence for dengue vaccine in April 2016, yet it is now distributed in PH! May God bless the Philippines!"

Screenshot of my blog dated Feb. 13, 2016. Marinduque Rising.

 I stressed then that I wouldn’t be surprised if no one paid attention because of the May 2016 election craze, and that's what really happened. Another factor in my view was the article appearing in a major newspaper that erroneously published the Dengvaxia deal involving a mere P3.5 MILLION instead of P3.5 BILLION so who would even care? (The paper never corrected the mistake thereafter).

Exactly eight months later, Sec. Gordon stood up in the Senate to question this matter of PH government under Aquino spending billions of pesos for dengue vaccine yet to be tested by WHO thus endangering children’s lives. (I watched Gordon live on TV quoting certain passages that could only have been lifted from my blog, to my pleasure, of course). I blogged, thus on Oct. 13, 2016: 

Well, many thanks to Senator Richard Gordon for standing up in the Senate about this. This issue of spending billions of pesos for dengue vaccine that is yet to be tested by WHO that actually endangered the lives of hundreds of thousands of Filipino children as guinea pigs. (Further readings on Vaccine and Depopulation here

But now it's all out!

Nang pumutok na ng mas malakas ang katotohanan, nanahimik na ako. Bahala na ang mga eksperto hanggang naging world news na nga ang usaping ito. Everything is out now, bagama’t di pa rin tapos kahit marami nang ekspertong dumawdaw.
.
Yun laang po naman ang sa akin.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Early humans in the Philippines now said to be 700,000 years old


Ang mga naunang tao sa Pilipinas ay kapareho lang ng pinagmulan ng mga naunang tao sa Asia mainland, malayo sa ibang lahi




This handout image obtained from the French Museum of Natural History on Wednesday shows an archaeologist at work at the site of an archaeological dig at Kalinga in the Philippines. Were early humans living in East Asia more than half-a-million years ago clever enough to build seafaring watercraft and curious enough to cross a vast expanse of open sea? | MNHN / THOMAS INGICCO / XGTY / VIA AFP-JIJI

Traces of early humans in Philippines 700,000 years ago raise question of whether they were seafarers
AFP-JIJI

PARIS – Were the early humans roaming East Asia more than half a million years ago clever enough to build seafaring watercraft and curious enough to cross a vast expanse of open sea?

This and other questions arise from the discovery in the Philippines of a butchered rhinoceros skeleton and the stone tools probably used to carve away its meat, researchers said Wednesday.

The find pushes back the arrival of the first Homo species on the island chain ten-fold to 700,000 years ago, they reported in the journal Nature.

Earlier archaeological clues from Luzon island — tools at one site, pre-historic animals remains at another — hinted at the presence of primitive human species, echoing the way Homo erectus and Homo floresiensis probably populated the Indonesian archipelago during roughly the same period.

But until now, the earliest confirmed evidence of hominins — the scientific term used to group modern and early humans — in the Philippines came from a single 67,000-year-old foot bone unearthed in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

“We had the extraordinary luck to find a nearly complete, disarticulated rhinoceros,” said Thomas Ingicco, a paleoanthropologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and lead author of the study.

This handout image obtained from the French Museum of Natural History (MNHN) on Wednesday shows two cut flakes and a rib of a rhinoceros at the Kalinga site, all evidence of the presence of a hominkin 709 000 years ago, retrieved from the site of an archaeological dig at Kalinga in the Philippines. | MNHN / THOMAS INGICCO / VIA AFP-JIJI

Analysis of the bones from the extinct species — Rhinoceros philippinensis — left no doubt “that it showed ridges left by tools,” he said.

Some of the cut marks were made while removing flesh; others came from specialized tools designed to remove nourishing — and no doubt delicious — marrow.

Ingicco and his colleagues also uncovered the skeletal remains of other potentially tasty animals, including brown deer, monitor lizards, freshwater turtles and stegodons, extinct mammals combining elephant and mammoth features.

“We know that some species of human ate this rhino,” said Ingicco. “But we don’t know if they killed if first, or found the carcass.”

All told, the Kalinga site in northern Luzon’s Cagayan Valley yielded more than 400 bones and several dozen knapped — or chipped — tools, including 49 knife-like flakes and two hammers.

“This evidence pushes back the proven period of colonization of the Philippines by hundreds of thousands of years,” the authors concluded.

Several dating techniques applied to the rhino remains determined its age at between 631,000 and 777,000 years, putting it in a period known as the Pleistocene.

With no direct trace of the humans who butchered the animals, researchers could only speculate on who they were and how they got there.

Homo erectus — known to have wandered to present-day China and Southeast Asia up to million years ago — is one candidate.

It is also possible that the butchers of Kalinga had already evolved into a distinct subspecies, as likely happened to the “hobbit” of Flores, diminutive humans named for the Indonesian island where they were first found.

As for how “Kalinga Man” made it across what is today 1,000 km (620 miles) of open ocean between Luzon and mainland Asia, the authors doubt they fashioned a raft or other seaworthy vessel.

“The colonization could have happened ‘accidentally’ after a tsunami ripped up the coastline and created a temporary land bridge, a rare but documented phenomenon,” said Ingicco. - The Japan Times

Mga Protektadong Lugar sa Pilipinas... at Marinduque

Protected area ang turing sa mga napiling bahagi ng kalupaan natin at kailugan/karagatan na may katangi-tanging pisikal at biolohikal na kahalagahan, na protektado ng ating batas laban sa mapanirang paggamit ng mga nasabing lugar.

Mt. Mayon photo: Dexbaldon

Classification ng mga ito ay alin man sa strict nature reserve, natural park, natural monument, wildlife sanctuary, protected landscapes and seascapes, resource reserve, natural biotic areas at iba pang mga kategorya na itinatag ng batas o international agreements na nilagdaan ng Pilipinas. signatory.

Saklaw ng mga nasabing protektadong lugar ng Pilipinas ang 4.07 milyong ektarya ng mga lupa at 1.38 milyong ektarya ng mga lugar sa dagat. Humigit-kumulang 14.2% ng kabuuang lugar ng Pilipinas.

Apo Reef photo: Dwayne Meadows NOAA

Noong 2011, naglabas ang DENR ng isang memorandum para suspendihin ang pagtititulo ng lupa sa mga lugar na iminungkahi para sa deklarasyon ng mga protektadong lugar.

Suspendido rin ang pagproseso ng mga aplikasyon para sa pagpapaupa, lisensya, o permit para sa anumang proyekto o aktibidad sa loob ng natukoy na mga, pati na rin ang pagtanggap ng mga bagong aplikasyon, maliban sa mga proyekto na naaayon sa mga layunin ng Nipas.

Lake Danao photo: Singapore Alice

Sa taong 2013, mayroong 240 protektadong lugar na pinamamahalaan ng National Integrated Protected Areas System (Nipas) sa ilalim ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Torrijos Watershed Forest Reserve

Sa Marinduque naroon ang isa sa pinakaunang nadeklarang protected area sa Pilipinas. Nangyari ito noon pang 1932, isang lugar sa Torrijos na may lawak na 105 ektarya (259.5 acres).

Noon namang 2004, nadeklarang protected area ang Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary sa Boac, Marinduque, na may lawak na 8,827.96 ektarya (21,814.4 acres).

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sta, Cruz May Fiesta and visiting that old convent



May 1-3 has always been celebrated in Sta.Cruz, Marinduque as the town fiesta, meaning three days of feasting and fun. It brings to mind a place that, in the days when a mixture of Spanish and Tagalog was still spoken on the island, was the center of celebration where the town's rich and religious congregated.

That's an old convent beside the Sta. Cruz Church.Church, reputed to be the oldest in Marinduque, that has survived typhoons, earthquakes and strife. The upper level of this century/ies-old convent (Santa Cruz de Napo was its old name), houses one of the biggest wooden halls in all of the island. Until today, laughter and voices during banquets for various occasions still reverberate in the mountain air.

The hall, very well-preserved with walls and floors of hardwood up to 2 feet in width could take in as many as 500 guests. Its lower level, converted into classrooms since 1974 as the Holy Infant Parochial School for grade-school kids is made of adobe walls and floors with windows protected by thick iron grills and thick, heavy doors of hardwood.

 The original look of this old structure, circa 1881. From the Marche files showing the old glory and splendor of the building while a banquet was taking place.

 Staircase with old wood balusters. Photo: Dan Pagulayan
Excerpts from the Marche files:

“The next day was the feast of the town. After the religious ceremony at the church, a procession attended by all the faithful went through the streets of the town, adorned with canopies of greenery and garlands of flowers.

"In the evening, a big banquet was given by the parish priest of Santa Cruz. He was the son of a Frenchman and a Spanish woman, but he did not know a word of the paternal language. He also had his collection, from which he was willing to deduct a few shells for me.” (Luzon and Palawan, Marche, with illustration titled Fete a Santa Cruz de Napo)

Familiar-to-the-town windows of capiz-shells.

Fiesta 2018 Highlights this time:

Visit of Miss Earth Beauties
Performance by popular singer Angeline Quinto
Mayor's Ball with Dangal ng Santa Cruz Awards



Sports Clinic and Exhibition Game at the Gymnasium with PBA Players Derick Hubalde, Mark Andaya and Paolo Hubalde.

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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Quick news, photos, videos, culture, tourism, history and all that there is on the island of Marinduque, Philippines. "VIVA MARINDUQUE!" www.marinduquegov.blogspot.com

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