DILG Central News
Robredo orders probe vs. Camarines Norte Governor for alleged involvement in various local mining anomaliesJuly 3, 2012
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo today ordered an investigation against Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo Tallado for his alleged involvement in various illegal mining activities in the iron ore and gold-rich towns of Paracale and Jose Panganiban.
The DILG chief ordered the probe in the wake of several complaints reaching the DILG, Bureau of Customs and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources filed by various local non-governmental organizations and environmentalist groups against illegal mining operations in Camarines Norte which allegedly has the “blessings” of the provincial governor.
“I have ordered the agents of the DILG Office for Internal Security and the DILG Region 5 Director Blandino Maceda to investigate the case against Gov. Tallado ASAP. The complaints lodged against him by his constituents are serious enough to warrant an immediate investigation,” Robredo said.
Ms. Rio G. Paliza, president of the Paracale chapter of the Junior Chamber International Philippines, in a letter dated June 18, 2012, complained to Robredo and DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon about the flagrant violation of environmental laws by three mining companies operating in Paracale which were issued Temporary Small-Scale Mining Permit issued by Tallado’s office.
Paliza’s group is being supported by various NGOs and CVOs and other sectors in the towns of Paracale, Labo and Jose Panganiban, and they include Paracale-native and CBCP Secretary General Msgr. Litoy Asis, Samahan ng Mangingilaw sa Paracale (SAMAPA), Philippine Golden Scouts, Kabalikat Charity, Kabalikat Bicol, Samahan ng Kabataan sa Paracale, Paracalenyo Internationale, Marriage Encounter, KCI Labo Niogan, JCI Daet Bulawan and Kabihug, Bicolano Shooterspeed, Bawal Mag Shoot Dito Pilipinas and Bicol Athletes.
She said the operations of the three mining companies in Paracale - the Uni Dragon Mining and Development Corp., the Philippine Bao Tong Mining Corporation and Liaoning Fenghua Group Philippine Mining Company, Inc. - have caused so much damaged to the local environment, particularly to the Paracale shoreline.
“These mining firms have been illegally and irresponsibly operating in our town which has caused damage to some 40 hectares of coral and marine life in Barangay Bagumbayan by disposing their mud waste directly on our sea that resulted to a waste-deep mud waste,” Paliza said.
“It has placed in serious jeopardy the source of livelihood of my kababayans and the one and only tourist beach resort in Paracale which is the Pulangdaga beach resort,” she added.
Despite the September 5, 2011 cease and desist order issued by the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau for violation and non-compliance to the terms and conditions of its mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA), Paliza said the Philippine Bao Tao Mining Corp has continued its unhampered operation up to present.
She added that the Liaoning Fenghua Group, despite its questionable temporary small-scale mining permit issued by the provincial government, is operating on full large-scale mining operations in Paracale, using heavy machineries and equipment.
Robert Durante, director of the Yinlu Bicol Mining Corp., also complained to Robredo the alleged illegal issuance by Tallado’s office of two temporary small-scale mining permits to a Malaysian-owned mining firm despite his firm’s patented mining claims in Larap, Jose Panganiban, Camarines Sur.
For the year 2010 and 2011, he said the Malaysian-owned mining firm, which has a small-scale mining permit but is using heavy machineries and explosives without a DENR environmental clearance certificate, was able to make ten shipments with a total of 112,068.496 metric tons of iron ore “under highly questionable circumstances and documentation.”
“The Philippine Ports Authority issued a certification of the shipments but that was not exporting. It was smuggling out,” Durante said. “The unlawful activities are being perpetrated by Investwell Mineral Development Corporation and/or Investwell Resources, Inc. led by Malaysian Hii Yii Ann and his operations chief, one Leow Sing King.”
Very recently, despite the support extended to them by Tallado’s camp, the DILG and the PNP ordered the relief of Camarines Norte PNP provincial director, Sr. Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr. and two of his subordinates – Superintendent Lito Andaya and Supt. Godofredo Tul-o for alleged involvement in illegal mining operations, particularly the sale of explosives to miners in the province.