OPPOSE THE CONTINUING ONSLAUGHT ON THE EARTH
“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and you made my inheritance detestable.” (Jeremiah 2:7)
We, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF), express alarm over the wanton abuse of natural resources by the Transnational Mining Corporations (TNCs) with their local cohorts in South Luzon Region, especially in Bicol. The experience of the Bicolano people is no different from the plight of local communities in mining areas throughout the country: massive environmental destruction, shrinking economic base of the people, militarization of mining communities, displacement of communities due to land-grabbing and unjust land-conversion, gross human rights violations, destruction of flora and fauna, and further impoverishment of the country. The unresolved and ever continuing polymetallic mining operations in Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay, Labo, Paracale, and Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, the aggressive mine expansion in Aroroy, Masbate by Filminera Resources Corp., the peculiar magnetite off-shore mining in Camarines Sur by Bogo Mining Resources Corp; the Palanog Cement Plant in Albay, Panganiban and San Andres, Catanduanes, and the deeper quagmire of maldevelopment of mining in Matnog, Sorsogon challenge us to rethink our role as responsible God’s stewards of creation ( Genesis 1: 26-31 ).
Destructive mining is blatantly unethical, unjust, and senseless for it exacerbates poverty, causes dislocation of livelihood of the people, and even threatens the base of life and life itself.
It is lamentable that the national government equates TNC mining with development, and is remiss in its duties in protecting the environment to the detriment of the people. It has been proven that the negative costs of mining operations far outweigh the gains.
Thus, to further liberalize the mining industry in favour of the mining corporations as being trumpeted by the Aquino administration will mean more suffering and death, dislocation, displacement and ruin of the environment.
Hence we call on the Filipino people:
1. To oppose all destructive mining operations, both locally or foreign-owned;
2. To scrap the Mining Act of 1995;
3. To demand immediate moratorium of large scale mining
4. To demand the demilitarization of mining communities
5. To fight for justice and integrity of creation;
6. To pass the HB 4315 or the Peoples’ Mining Bill
We urge our churches and faith-based groups and institutions to pursue organizing, awareness building, and other relevant activities, and be in full solidarity with the people’s movement against destructive mining operations.
With the liberating power of the Holy Spirit, we seek strength and wisdom to carry this task of asserting the right of the earth to survive and all that dwell therein.
Ecumenical Bishops Forum
October 6, 2011
DA Reports Rise in Fish Catch But Not in Albay Gulf
In the July 12-18, 2011 issue of Diario Veritas, the Department of Agriculture reported:
Nahilingan nin senyales nin pag-asenso an sector nin pagsisira sa paagi kan pagiging aktibo kan mga regional fishing ports sa primerong quarto kan taon.
Ipinahayag nin Rodolfo Paz, an general manager kan Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), an mga dakop kan sira an nagtaas nin maabot sa 93 porsyento sa Navotas, Iloilo, asin Sual, Pangasinan.
Siring man an nanotaran sa Davao Fish Port Complex na nagkaigwa man na 40% na pagdakul nin dakop kumparadosa dakop kan mga parasira sa kaparehong peryodo kan nakaaging taon.
Katakod kaini, pinag-engganyar kan DA an gabos na local na gobyerno sa nasyon na pakusugon an industriya nina pagsisira partikular sa aspeto kan environmental protection asin pagbukod sa mga ilegal na mga parasira.
Nakaabot kaya an report sa DA na rampante an paggamit nin mga dinamitakan mga parasira sa nagkakapirang kostal na lugar kan nasyon kun saen saro kan naunambitan digdi iyo an rehiyon Bikol.
At least two points are implied in this report. First, there are rises in fish catch in several areas of the country but not in Albay Gulf. Second, the DA blames all declines in fish catch on environmental degradation “and” illegal fishing.
On the first implication: Why is there no report of any rise in fish catch in Albay Gulf? The answer is obvious: there is in fact a precipitous decline as attested to by fishermen. A 95% decline has been reported here since 2005 the same year when Lafayette went into full operation. Why is there such a decline? We have referred that question to the DA and its line bureau BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) but no answer has ever been given. (They have not even reported any investigation conducted on the cause of death of a 15-meter sperm whale in 2010.)
We have ascribed the decline to mining in Rapu-Rapu from which flow several creeks that are discolored. Officials of Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project reply that fish catch decline is a global phenomenon (technical meeting on April 26, 2011 in EMB). Now, we have here a rebuttal to that defense - the DA report of fish catch rise in at least four areas. Fish catch decline is not a global phenomenon.
On the second implication: Since DA reports rises in fish catch in four areas of the country and calls for curtailment of illegal fishing, then it follows that after curtailing illegal fishing we can observe a rise in fish catch. In Albay Gulf, the Bantay Dagat, a local watch group against illegal fishing, has been very active in this campaign. However, the fish catch decline continues. Couple this observation with the fact that the DA confirms the presence of a fish sanctuary in Gaba Bay, Villahermosa, Rapu-Rapu . With a fish sanctuary and active campaign against illegal fishing, fish population should increase within one or two seasons but this does not happen. Hence, illegal fishing cannot be the cause. Again, we are led to the more obvious – the mining operation in Rapu-Rapu.
It should be pointed out that much of the fish catch in the past according to fishermen consisted of migratory fish from the Pacific Ocean – yellowfin tuna, kwaw, malasugi, tanguigue, sharks, etc. These species do not need the local breeding grounds in Albay Gulf to multiply. They spawn in the areas around Guam and come to Albay Gulf to feed seasonally. They pass through the gap between Rapu-Rapu and Prieto Diaz following the current. Since 2005, the catch of these species has consistently declined. Something is barring their path in that gap and that something is none other than the contamination of silt and heavy metals flowing from the mine site through the creeks and ultimately to the waters around Rapu-Rapu. The current carries the contaminants into the Albay Gulf and spreads them as the tide flows back out into the Philippine Sea.
Any way we look at the phenomenon in Albay Gulf, the glaring fact is that mining has adversely affected our food supply. Between fishing where we derive 100% of the benefits and Rapu-Rapu mining where were derive only 1/3 of 1% (according to the statement of Gov. Joey Salceda in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on March 28, 2011), we have to choose the former.
The same issue of Diario Veritas banners the headline “City secures fish trade.” It reports the plan of the Legazpi City Council “to beef up the local fishing industry through stern legislation . . . Councilor Carlos Ante had already invited the different leaders of the local fisher folk to lay out details of a proposed ordinance to secure their livelihood.” I laud the efforts of the good councilor. However, I suggest that a more comprehensive view of the problem be taken if it is ever intended to be solved. As management theory suggests, any solution should address the real cause of the problem. Limiting the analysis within the immediate vicinity of the city’s coastal waters will lead to a failure at solution.
Not too long ago, we learned that several city councilors led by then Mayor Noel Rosal visited the Rapu-Rapu mine. In the newsletter of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Foresight, he was quoted as follows: “The mine is full of promise for the province” (Pages 9 and 11). I wrote Hon. Rosal in November 2010 (by then he had become the City Administrator) attaching photographs of the creeks colored brown, red, yellow and orange. I asked if the tour guides brought his group to the creeks. It’s September 2011 and I still have to receive a reply. I also wrote to MGB V and EMB V. Both replied that the contamination in the creeks is within “tolerable levels.”
RRMI, RRPI, LG, Kores and MSC should not think that they have succeeded in convincing the local community in their claim that the mine is operated responsibly and that the benefits they have derived translate to sustainable development of the people. The condition of the creeks, the fish catch decline and the poverty prevailing in the island all speak eloquently of the truth. Environmental damage and economic injustice have worsened. Adding insult to injury, they have praised themselves through press releases about their environmental awards while the residents of Rapu-Rapu and the fishermen of Albay Gulf continue to suffer. The contamination in the creeks may be within “tolerable levels” in the standards of the DENR but the poverty of the island residents, the fish catch decline and the environmental damage are definitely intolerable in the standards of the local community.
The DA, BFAR, DENR, Legazpi City Council, other local government units and other authorities better look into Rapu-Rapu mining honestly if they really want to solve the problem of fish catch decline in Albay Gulf. Anything less than that would not be in keeping with the public trust reposed in them.
September 4, 2011
Mining Engineers’ Conference in Legazpi City blind to local residents’ plight!
We remind the Provincial Government of Albay about the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution 2011-020 issued on March 8, 2011 banning all future mining activities in the province. It should have shown consistency by expressing disfavor against the convention.
We rebuke the City Government of Legazpi for going against the sentiments of Albayanos against the continued destruction of our environment. The city has recently manifested its inability to walk the talk. In Mount Bariw, Barangay Estanza, a large swath of hillside is severely denuded yet it has done nothing. The silt from the denudation has flowed to Barangay Pinaric where it is several inches thick. In Embarcadero, large volumes of floating garbage greet the citizens whenever they go for a leisurely stroll along the boulevard. The city government has been so preoccupied with pleasing tourists but compromised the welfare of local residents who voted them into office and pay millions in taxes. Tourists bring in income but that income is just a means towards providing better living conditions for local residents. The means cannot be exchanged for the end. If the welfare of citizens is disadvantaged by the city government’s preoccupation with pleasing tourists, then it is time to withdraw the trust reposed in them during election.
The hosting of the mining engineers’ convention in Legazpi is a misstep of the city government. It betrays a failure to understand genuine environmental advocacy. While the city brags about its sanitary landfill, it fails to prove its pro-environment agenda by making a prominent endorsement of mining as a stimulant of progress. While we need products derived from mining, we insist that it should be done in the right place and the right manner. That is what responsible mining is all about. So far, however, all claims of responsible mining by many companies are nothing but hot air because of the evident damage wrought on their surroundings like what is happening in Rapu-Rapu, Aroroy, Palanog, Matnog, Paracale, Catanduanes, Caramoan, etc.
They say, if we do not want mining then we should not use the products of that industry. They are dead wrong. We want mining that does not destroy the environment. We want mining that reserves the natural resources of the Philippines for Filipinos. We want mining that spreads the fruits of development to the masses and not only to the foreign investors and their local junior partners.
We want mining that does not sacrifice our agriculture so that we protect our own food supply. Mining generally provides for non-basic needs while agriculture produces our most basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and livelihood. While mining generates a few temporary jobs, agriculture provides long-term sources of income thus genuinely assuring sustainable development.
We call on all mining engineers to support our notion of genuinely responsible mining. In view of the bad record of mining in Bicol, we ask them not to project the impression that they condone what is happening here contrary to declarations by the DENR, MGB, EMB and companies that all is well in Bicol mining. Bicol is severely suffering from the impacts of mining and the statements of the aforementioned entities are belied when we see the plight of the farmers and fishermen and the condition of our mountains, rivers, creeks and seas.
So in their visit to Rapu-Rapu today, they should make an objective assessment on the effects of mining in the island and its residents and not make it a mere field trip. They should talk to the people to know the real impact of RRPP on their lives. They tell us nothing but misery and deepening poverty. While the project heaps billions upon the foreign investors and their local junior partners, it brings “Lilliputian” benefits to the residents of the island and severe fish catch decline in Albay Gulf on which depend some 14,000 fishermen. Today, there is no more fish to catch in the gulf.
In 2010, the project earned P11.7 billion but according to Gov. Joey Salceda himself the province got a social fund of P41.71 million or a measly one-third (1/3) of 1%! If that is not enough, one can look at the creeks flowing from the mine site to the sea. They are colored yellow, orange, red and brown.
We ask the delegates to the mining conference to wake up to realities and not be deceived by the lies of those who support mining operations in Bicol.
July 19, 2011
RRPP’s Awards - Rubbing Salt on the People’s Injury
As the cliché goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. One needs only to go to the island and talk to the people to know the real impact of RRPP on their lives. They tell nothing but misery and deepening poverty. While the project heaps billions upon the foreign investors and their local junior partners, it brings “Lilliputian” benefits to the residents of the island and severe fish catch decline in Albay Gulf on which depend some 14,000 fishermen. Today, there is no more fish to catch in the gulf.
In 2010, the project earned P11.7 billion but according to Gov. Joey Salceda himself the province got a social fund of P41.71 million or a measly one-third (1/3) of 1%! If that is not enough, one can look at the creeks flowing from the mine site to the sea. They are colored yellow, orange, red and brown. Challenged to prove his belief in the reports of the Multi-partite Monitoring Team by bathing in the creeks on schedules and sites set by SARA, Director Reynulfo Juan of MGB V, showed photos of people perching on rocks in the discolored creeks on dates and sites they themselves chose. Challenged by SARA to withdraw the armed CAFGUs and allow free access and surprise visits to the creeks, Engr. Rogelio Corpus, President of RRMI, replied that they cannot allow such because they “have to protect their interests.” Hence, the interests of the environment and those of RRPP are contradictory.
The executives of RRPP can go on deluding themselves with fantastic claims of “safe and responsible mining” in Rapu-Rapu but the truth is well-known to the people who suffer much from the environmental damage and economic injustice attendant to the project. The emperor’s new clothes are well-praised by the award-giving bodies. One day, the truth will prevail and the awards will instead shatter their credibility. There is time under heaven for everything, says the Bible. Today, in the island of Rapu-Rapu and villages dependent on Albay Gulf, the people are groaning in pain. The awards are salt rubbed on their wounds while RRPP’s supporters have their photo-ops and raise their toasts of wine in fine dining. We believe that the day will come when, after being denied for so long, the people shall claim justice and RRPP’s awards will go to the dustbin.
July 18, 2011
Noon at Ngayon, Walang Responsableng Dayuhang Pagmimina sa Kabikolan!
Kahiya-hiya at malakas pa ang loob na ang itinakdang tema ng kumperensyang magaganap ay: Towards Responsible Mining: “Against All Odds”. Responsable para kanino? - Para sa mga malalaki at dayuhang korporasyon sa pagmimina kasama ng mga malalaking lokal na negosyante at para sa mga matataas na opisyales ng gobyerno at ahensya na nakikipagsabwatan sa mga korporasyong ito.
Kalokohang sabihin na ang operasyon na Open Pit Mining sa Rapu-Rapu, Albay (Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project ng Lafayette/LG-Kollins) at sa Aroroy, Masbate (Masbate Gold Project ng Filminera Resources Corporation) ay responsable! Mayroon bang pagpapasabog (blasting) ng kabundukan at kalupaan na “safe and environmental friendly”? Samantalang winawasak nga at hinuhukay pailalim.
Hindi rin responsable ang Magnetite Offshore Mining ng Bogo Mining Resources Corp. sa limang bayan ng Calabanga, Sipocot, Tinambac, Cabusao at Siruma sa Camarines Sur kung saan hahalukayin ang kailaliman ng karagatan 15 kilometro mula sa baybayin nito.
Hindi kailanman naging responsable ang mga dayuhang korporasyon ng pagmimina sa mga naapektuhan ng kanilang mga operasyon. Simula ng operasyon ng RRPP sa Rapu-Rapu ay lalong lumala ang kahirapan at nagkagutom-gutom ang mga residente dito dahil sa pagbagsak ng kanilang kabuhayan sa pangingisda at pagsasaka dulot ng mga lason ng pagmimina dito. Kung mayroong nakinabang sa binayad ng RRPP na P10,862.85 (mine waste fee) para sa 217,257 tonelada na “mine waste” ay ang MGB-V. (mula sa ulat ng MGB-V,2010). Sampung libong piso! Katumbas ba ito ng isang buhay ng nanay na namatay dahil nakakain ng isda dahil sa fishkill doon o ng isang batang namatay doon dahil sa kagutuman?
Apektado na nga ang mga residente sa pagmimina sa Barangay Nakalaya, Jose Panganiban sa Camarines Norte ay naiipit pa sila ngayon sa kaguluhan at away ng Investwell Corporation at ng FMCGI ng pamilyang Fonacier na nag-aagawan ng yamang mineral ng kanilang lugar.
Kasinungalingang ipamaglaki pa sa ulat ng DENR-V/MGB-V na ang malakihang pagmimina sa Kabikolan ang nagpasigla ng ekonomiya ng rehiyon samantalang ayon sa ulat ay nasa ikalawa sa pinakamahirap na rehiyon ang Bikol sa buong bansa. Kung sinasabi na umunlad ang ekonomiya ng Bikol dahil sa malakihang pagmimina – hindi ito maramdaman ng mga mamamayang Bikolano lalo na ng mga apektado ng mapaminsala at dayuhang pagmimina.
Tanging ang mga malalaki at dayuhang korporasyon sa pagmimina kasama ng mga malalaking lokal na negosyante at mga matataas na opisyales ng gobyerno at ahensya na nakikipagsabwatan sa mga korporasyong ito ang nakikinabang sa mga produkto at kita ng pagmimina dito sa Bikol. Sa ulat ng MBG-V/DENR-V noong 2010, sa kabuuan ay may P4,654,818,424.31 at P57,483,032.45 na kita mula sa “metallic ” at “non-metallic production”dito sa Bikol ayon sa pagkasunod-sunod ngunit hindi naman inulat ang mga dambuhala at limpak na limpak na kita ng mga korporasyon na maluwag na inilalabas patungo sa kanilang bansa. Maluwag nang nailalabas ang kita, maluwag pa ang kanilang operasyon dahil sa mga iba’t-ibang insentibo tulad ng: 6 years income tax exemption, 10 years export tax exemption, and import tax exemption at marami pang iba.
Kaya nga parang parang kabuteng nagsulputan ang mga ito sa Bikol dahil sa pagiging sagana ng rehiyon sa yamang mineral at prayoridad pa ng nakaraang gobyerno ni GMA ito para sa malakihang proyektong pagmimina na ipinagpapatuloy lamang ng gobyerno ni Noynoy Aquino at pinasahol pa sa ilalim ng kanyang Public-Private Partnership Program. Gayundin, patuloy ang pag-iral ng Mining Act of 1995 kung saan ay lalong nagbuyangyang sa ating likas na yaman para dambungin at wasakin ang ating kalikasan.
“Towards Responsible Mining: Against All Odds” ? - Ang responsableng pagmimina ay mangyayari lamang sa ating bansa kung magkakaroon ng re-oryentasyon ang industriya ng pagmimina sa ating bansa. Kung saan, ang kita ng industriya ng pagmimina ay napapakinabangan at napapaunlad ang mamamayang Pilipino at hindi napupunta sa dayuhan at sa mga lokal na kasabwat nito. Kung saan, ang gobyerno ang may kontrol ng industriya at hindi ang mga dayuhan.
Hindi dayuhang pagmimina at malawakang kumbersyon ng lupa ang magpapaunlad sa Kabikolan. Hindi ito ang sagot sa kahirapan at kagutuman ng mamamayang Bikolano. Pagpapaunlad ng agrikultura, trabaho at sapat na sahod, tirahan, libreng serbisyo-sosyal ang tutugon sa kahirapan at kagutuman upang mabuhay ng maayos at marangal ang mamamayang Bikolano. Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa at Pambansang Industriyalisasyon lamang ang magpapaunlad sa bansa at rehiyon.
Hulyo 13, 2011
A Word of Caution
Matthew 7:16 - You will know them by what they do. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes, and briers do not bear figs.
Matthew 7:20 - So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do.
The creeks are crucial to the condition of fishing grounds
The joke is that there will no longer be any fishkill - because there are no more fish to kill.
The fish that allegedly died off the coasts of Linao and Binosawan during the fishkill reported by island residents and the parish on May 8, 2011 could be the migratory species from the Pacific Ocean attempting to enter Albay Gulf via the gap between Rapu-Rapu and Prieto Diaz. Linao is a village facing the ocean and Binosawan, the gap.
The MGB V Photographs and "Bathing" in the Creeks of Rapu-Rapu
"With reference to your challenge to take a bath in the creeks, we have done just that. some members of the MMT and personnel of Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project (RRPP) went to a picnic and took a bath at Pagcolbon Creek on March 29 and April 3, 2011. We are attaching pictures for your reference. These pictures indicate the current status of the creeks."
In reply, Mr. Perdigon writes:
The good Director says he believes the contamination data but he is not among those “bathing.” Someone is shown sitting on the rocks (obviously not bathing) but the face is not recognizable (number 10).
Then and Now: What Difference? What Improvement in the Creeks?
Below, we are presenting ALL pictures in the Annex to the EMB V Investigation Report dated March 8-10, 2011. Those on the left are the pictures we have been showing to authorities which were taken from 2006 to 2009; those on the right are alleged to have been taken in the same spots on March 8 to 10, 2011 by EMB V and the mining companies. You be the judge if there is any improvement.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Today January 26, 2010 at 11 am concerned people of Poblacion and Morocborocan will be having a prayer rally/procession around Poblacion particularly in front of the Municipal Hall asking for the help of Our Lord not to let the mining (companies) operate in our (villages). Please help us pray.
I am here with Fr. Jay and people from the Social Action Center. Boring moment because the mining companies’ personnel are presenting . . . They are saying just one thing: they will mine the area. They say they will not mine yet but will only explore.
Somebody asked about the massive fishkill in November 2006 (sic). How would the companies explain it? The Mines and Geosciences Bureau responded in behalf of the miners.
The session is over. According to Councilor Galicia (Committee on Environment) and Councilor Baranda (Committee on Laws) they will follow the people’s will. They saw and know the previous impacts of mining. It’s election time. We hope they don’t sing a different tune afterwards. The people have only one clamor: no more exploration; no to mining!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Because LG, Kores and MSC own Lafayette Philippines, Inc. which in turn owns Rapu-Rapu Minerals, Inc. (RRMI) and Rapu-Rapu Processing, Inc. (RRPI), the local operators of the Rapu-Rapu mine . . .
Because the Rapu-Rapu mine continues to destroy the surrounding areas of Rapu-Rapu and Albay Gulf . . .
Because the Rapu-Rapu mine has caused the growing poverty among 14,000 fishermen dependent on Albay Gulf and 9,000 residents of the island while only a very small minority (918 as claimed) benefit from jobs it purportedly generates . . .
Because LG sells products in our locality . . .
We call for a boycott of all products with the LG mark – cellphone, washing machine, computer monitor, aircon, refrigerator, etc.!
Find ways to make Korea Resources Corporation and Malaysia Smelting Corporation accountable too!
Fight for our right over our natural resources against the greed of foreign big business and those in positions of political power who are their local junior partners!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The following excerpts from the Philippine Mining Act, DAO 1996-40 and DAO 2007-15 pertinent to the application for exploration permit serve to enlighten us on the prospects:
Philippine Mining Act of 1995
Section 20 Exploration Permit. - An exploration permit grants the right to conduct exploration for all minerals in specified areas. The Bureau shall have the authority to grant an exploration Permit to a qualified person.
Section 21 Terms and Conditions of the Exploration Permit. - An exploration permit shall be for a period of two (2) years, subject to annual review and relinquishment or renewal upon the recommendation of the Director.
Section 22 Maximum Areas for Exploration Permit. - The maximum area that a qualified person may hold at any one time shall be:
a. Onshore, in any one province
1. for individuals, twenty (20) blocks: and
2. for partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, or associations, two hundred (200) blocks.
b. Onshore, in the entire Philippines
1. for individuals, forty (40) blocks; and
2. for partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, or associations, four hundred (400) blocks.
c. Offshore, beyond five hundred meters (500m) from the mean low tide level:
1. for individuals, one hundred (100) blocks; and
2. for partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, or associations, one thousand (1,000) blocks.
Section 23 Rights and Obligations of the Permittee. - An exploration permit shall grant to the permittee, his heirs or successors-in-interest, the right to enter, occupy and explore the area: Provided, That if private or other parties are affected, the permittee shall first discuss with the said parties the extent, necessity, and manner of his entry, occupation and exploration and in case of disagreement, a panel of arbitrators shall resolve the conflict or disagreement.
The permittee shall undertake an exploration work on the area as specified by its permit based on an approved work program.
Any expenditure in excess of the yearly budget of the approved work program may be carried forward and credited to the succeeding years covering the duration of the permit. The Secretary, through the Director, shall promulgate rules and regulations governing the terms and conditions of the permit.
The permittee may apply for a mineral production sharing agreement, joint venture agreement, co-production agreement or financial or technical assistance agreement over the permit area, which application shall be granted if the permittee meets the necessary qualifications and the terms and conditions of any such agreement: Provided, That the exploration period covered by the exploration permit shall be included as part of the exploration period of the mineral agreement or financial or technical assistance agreement.
Section 24 Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility. - A holder of an exploration permit who determines the commercial viability of a project covering a mining area may, within the term of the permit, file with the Bureau a declaration of mining project feasibility accompanied by a work program for development. The approval of the mining project feasibility and compliance with other requirements provided in this Act shall entitle the holder to an exclusive right to a mineral production sharing agreement or other mineral agreements or financial or technical assistance agreement.
Section 25 Transfer or Assignment. - An exploration permit may be transferred or assigned to a qualified person subject to the approval of the Secretary upon the recommendation of the Director.
DENR Department Administrative Order 1996-40
Section 15 Areas Closed to Mining Applications. - Pursuant to the Act and in consonance with State policies and existing laws, areas may be either closed to mining applications or conditionally opened therefor.
a. The following areas are closed to mining applications:
1. Areas covered by valid and existing mining rights and mining applications subject to Subsection b(3) herein;
2. Old growth or virgin forests, proclaimed watershed forest reserves, wilderness areas, mangrove forests, mossy forests, national parks, provincial/municipal forests, tree parks, greenbelts, game refuge, bird sanctuaries and areas proclaimed as marine reserves/marine parks and tourist zones as defined by law and identified initial components of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) pursuant to R.A. No. 7586 and such areas expressly prohibited thereunder, as well as under Department Administrative Order No. 25, Series of 1992, and other laws;
3. Areas which the Secretary may exclude based, inter alia, on proper assessment of their environmental impacts and implications on sustainable land uses, such as built-up areas and critical watersheds with appropriate barangay/municipal/city/provincial Sanggunian ordinance specifying therein the location and specific boundary of the concerned area; and
4. Areas expressly prohibited by law.
Mining applications which have been made over the foregoing areas shall be reviewed and, after due process, such areas may be excluded from said applications.
b. The following areas may be opened for mining applications the approval of which are subject to the following conditions:
1. Military and other Government Reservations, upon prior written clearance by the Government agency having jurisdiction over such Reservations;
2. Areas near or under public or private buildings, cemeteries, archaeological and historic sites, bridges, highways, waterways, railroads, reservoirs, dams or other infrastructure projects, public or private works, including plantations or valuable crops, upon written consent of the concerned Government agency or private entity subject to technical evaluation and validation by the Bureau;
3. Areas covered by FTAA applications which shall be opened for quarry resources mining applications pursuant to Section 53 hereof upon the written consent of the FTAA applicants, except for sand and gravel applications which shall require no such consent;
4. Areas covered by small-scale mining under R.A. No. 7076/P.D. No. 1899 upon prior consent of the small-scale miners, in which case a royalty payment, upon the utilization of minerals, shall be agreed upon by the concerned parties and shall form a Trust Fund for the socioeconomic development of the concerned community; and
5. DENR Project Areas upon prior consent from the concerned agency.
The Bureau shall cause the periodic review of areas closed to mining applications for the purpose of determining whether or not their continued closure is consistent with the national interest and render its recommendations, if any, to the Secretary for appropriate action.
Section 21 Publication/Posting/Radio Announcement of an Exploration Permit Application. - Within fifteen (15) working days from receipt of the necessary area clearances, the Bureau/concerned Regional Office(s) shall issue to the applicant the Notice of Application for Exploration Permit for publication, posting and radio announcement which shall be done within fifteen (15) working days from receipt of the Notice. The Notice must contain, among others, the name and complete address of the applicant, duration of the permit applied for, extent of exploration activities to be undertaken, area location, geographical coordinates/meridional block(s) of the proposed permit area and location map/sketch plan with index map relative to major environmental features and projects and to the nearest municipalities.
The Bureau/concerned Regional Office(s) shall cause the publication of the Notice once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in two (2) newspapers: one of general circulation published in Metro Manila and another published in the municipality or province where the proposed permit area is located, if there be such newspapers; otherwise, in the newspaper published in the nearest municipality or province.
The Bureau/concerned Regional Office shall also cause the posting for two (2) consecutive weeks of the Notice on the bulletin boards of the Bureau, the concerned Regional Office(s), Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Office(s) (PENRO(s)), Community Environmental and Natural Resources Office(s) (CENRO(s)) and in the concerned province(s) and municipality(ies), copy furnished the barangay(s) where the proposed permit area is located. Where necessary, the Notice shall be in a language generally understood in the concerned locality where it is posted.
The radio announcements shall be made daily for two (2) consecutive weeks in a local radio program and shall consist of the name and complete address of the applicant, area location, duration of the permit applied for and instructions that information regarding such application may be obtained at the Bureau/concerned Regional Office(s). The publication and radio announcements shall be at the expense of the applicant.
Within thirty (30) calendar days from the last date of publication/posting/radio announcements, the authorized officer(s) of the concerned office(s) shall issue a certification(s) that the publication/posting/radio announcement have been complied with. Any adverse claim, protest or opposition shall be filed directly, within thirty (30) calendar days from the last date of publication/posting/radio announcement, with the concerned Regional Office or through any concerned PENRO or CENRO for filing in the concerned Regional Office for purposes of its resolution by the Panel of Arbitrators pursuant to the provisions of the Act and these implementing rules and regulations. Upon final resolution of any adverse claim, protest or opposition, the Panel of Arbitrators shall issue a Certification to that effect within five (5) working days from the date of finality of resolution thereof. Where no adverse claim, protest or opposition is filed after the lapse of the period for filing the adverse claim, protest or opposition, the Panel of Arbitrators shall likewise issue a Certification to that effect within five (5) working days therefrom.
However, previously published valid and existing mining claims are exempted from the publication/posting/radio announcement required under this Section.
No Exploration Permit shall be approved unless the requirements under this Section are fully complied with and any adverse claim/protest/opposition thereto is finally resolved.
Section 203 Filing of Adverse Claims/Conflicts/Oppositions. - Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 21, 38 and 55 hereof, any adverse claims, protest or opposition specified in said Sections may also be filed directly with the Panel of Arbitrators within the prescribed periods for filing such claim, protest or opposition as specified in said Sections.
Section 204 Substantial Requirements for Adverse Claims, Protests and Oppositions. - No adverse claim, protest or opposition involving mining rights shall be accepted for filing unless verified and accompanied by the prescribed docket fee and proof of services to the respondent(s), either personally or by registered mail: Provided, That the requirement for the payment of docket fees shall not be imposed on pauper litigants.
Likewise, no adverse claims, protest or opposition shall be entertained unless it contains the names and addresses of the adverse party, protestant, oppositor and the respondent and their respective counsels, if any; a detailed statement of the facts relied upon; the grounds for adverse claim, protest or opposition; and an exhaustive discussion of the issues and arguments raised; together with all supporting plans, documents, data and other documentary evidences and affidavits of all witnesses.
Section 205 Period to Decide the Case. - The Panel shall render its decision within thirty (30) days, after the submission of the case by the parties for decision.
Section 206 Execution and Finality of Decision. - The decision of the Panel of Arbitrators shall become final and executory after the lapse of fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice of decision by the aggrieved party, unless the latter appeals to the Mines Adjudication Board within the same period. Where an appeal is filed, the concerned Panel of Arbitrators shall transmit the notice thereof together with the records of the case within five (5) days to the Mines Adjudication Board.
Upon the finality of the decision of the Panel of Arbitrators, no appeal having taken therefrom, the Chairman of the Panel of Arbitrators shall issue a writ of execution directing the Sheriff of the Regional Trial Courts, with jurisdiction over the area, to implement and execute the writ.
DENR Department Administrative Order 2007-15
Section 3. Section 21. (PublicationlPostinglRadio Announcement of an Exploration Permit Application) is hereby amended, to read as follows:
"Section 21. PublicationlPostinglRadio Announcement of an Exploration Permit Application
Within five (5) working days from receipt of the necessary area clearances, the Regional Office(s) concerned shall issue the Notice of Application for Exploration Permit to the applicant for publication and radio announcement, and to the Offices concerned for posting. The Notice must contain, among others, the name and complete address of the applicant, duration of the permit applied for, extent of exploration activities to be undertaken, area location, geographical coordinateslmeridional block(s) of the proposed permit area and location maplsketch plan with index map relative to major environmental features and projects and to the nearest municipalities.
Within five (5) working days from receipt of the Notice, the Exploration Permit applicant shall cause the publication thereof once in two (2) newspapers: one of general circulation published in Metro Manila and another published in the municipality or province where the proposed permit area is located, if there be such newspapers; otherwise, in the newspaper published in the nearest municipality or province. The pertinent affidavits of publication shall be submitted by the Exploration Permit applicant to the Regional Office concerned within five (5) days from the date of publication of the Notice.
The Regional Office concerned shall cause the posting of the Notice on its bulletin board, and those of the province(s) and municipality(ies) concerned, or city(ies) concerned, for one (1) week, copy furnished the Bureau and the barangay(s) where the- proposed permit area is located. Where necessary, the Notice shall be in a language generally understood in the concerned locality where it is posted.
The radio announcements shall be made daily for one (1) week in a local radio program and shall consist of the name and complete address of the applicant, area location, duration of the permit applied for and instructions that information regarding such application may be obtained at the Regional Office(s) concerned. The publication and radio announcements shall be at the expense of the applicant.
Within five (5) working days from the last date of posting and radio announcement(s), the authorized officer(s) of the concerned office(s) shall issue a certification(s) that the posting/radio announcement have been complied with. Any adverse claim, protest or opposition shall be filed directly, within ten (10) working days from the date of publication or from the last date of posting/radio announcement, with the Regional Office concerned or through any PENRO or CENRO concerned for filing in the Regional Office concerned for purposes of its resolution by the Panel of Arbitrators pursuant to the provisions of the Act and these implementing rules and regulations. Upon final resolution of any adverse claim, protest or opposition, the Panel of Arbitrators shall issue a Certification to that effect within five (5) working days from the date of finality of resolution thereof. Where no adverse claim, protest or opposition is filed after the lapse of the period for filing the adverse claim, protest or opposition, the Panel of Arbitrators shall likewise issue a Certification to that effect within five (5) working days from receipt of the request of any concerned party.
No exploration permit shall be approved unless the requirements under this Section are fully complied with and any adverse claim/protest/opposition thereto is resolved with finality.
What is in store for the people of Rapu-Rapu and the entire province of Albay? If the mining operation in the southern villages is any indication, then we can only expect more heavy metal pollution and more economic injustice from the expansion of Lafayette mining. If the 180-hectare quarrying and processing activities resulted in fishkills, fish catch decline from 50 to 3 bañeras, severe contamination of the creeks, and poverty among the island residents, then what awaits us with the additional 608-hectare operation?
Lafayette might respond again by saying that the exploration does not necessarily mean full operation. Only when they find minerals will that happen. In reply, we say that this is like claiming that a father should not worry that his daughter was kidnapped because if the kidnappers find out that she is not good-looking, then they would not rape her!
Rapu-Rapu and the surrounding areas are reeling from the environmental damage and economic injustice brought about by Lafayette mining. The company wants to thrust its knife deeper into the bossom of our patrimony and the government is not coming to our aid; it is even cheering Lafayette in its rapacious onslaught on the island. The MGB V endorsement is nothing less than that.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Moreover, “MGB director Horacio Ramos said in an interview that metal production was valued at P107 billion, ‘which was 39 percent higher than last year,’ he said.”
“ ‘Among those who (sic) pushed production were Filminera and CGA Mining for the Masbate gold project, Atlas’ Carmen Copper Corp. in Cebu, Philsaga in Agusan, line 2 of Sumitomo’s Coral Bay project, Rapu-Rapu, and TVI’s copper production,’ Ramos said” (boldfacing supplied).
We ask: How much of that P107 billion went to people directly affected by mining operations? Particularly, how much did the people of Rapu-Rapu and surrounding areas suffering from severe fish catch decline get? Have the creeks of Rapu-Rapu become clean? Are the people of Rapu-Rapu and surrounding areas more prosperous because of higher metal production from the island?
The mining operation in Rapu-Rapu, as in other areas, was endorsed and approved by the government and some vested interests with the prospect that it would bring development. Peter Wallace, an Australian mining advocate, once asked in his column, “Where’s the pot of gold?” Good for him because now he can have his answer. We, in turn, ask: But where is the development?
Rapu-Rapu is one evidence of the grossly mistaken economic policies opening our country to mining companies with lip-service attention to environmental protection, attracting foreign investors instead of nurturing local entrepreneurs, favoring the production of goods which are not the basic needs of our people but are the luxuries of aliens, and promoting junior partnerships between politically powerful Filipinos and foreign big business interests at the expense of millions of poor and marginalized sectors.
Indeed, metal production rose by 39%, but what’s in it for the masses? For a tiny minority, maybe there are some windfall benefits. For the vast majority, however, there is nothing but more poverty.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Three important sets of evidences and testimonies validate this disaster:
1. The pictures of contaminated creeks – brown, yellow, orange and red in color – as shown in the side bar of this webpage - are evidences of this disaster. Lafayette has not shown its own shots of the creeks to prove the effectiveness of its mitigation measures. All that the company shows are drawings of their devices and photographs of structures inside the minesite in early phases of construction and which evidently were cleaned up before the pictures were taken.
2. The interviews with island residents complaining about the ongoing hunger and poverty in the island despite the huge income of LPI as reported in the press releases of MGB.
3. The decline in fish catch by as much as 93% since 2005, the same year when LPI started full operation.
Lafayette may contrive every means they can think of – from revising their website content, to producing Powerpoint presentations, to claiming ISO certification – but all those will never counteract the three evidences and testimonies listed above. Lafayette executives have ignored our challenge for them to bathe in the creeks if they want to prove that they are not polluting the water channels. Instead, Ms. Calleja cavalierly responds: Visit the minesite and see for yourself. In response, we have told her: we have been there and done that! What matters now is the proof of the pudding which is in the eating. Whatever assurances they may state about the excellent control measures they have devised, the polluted creeks, hunger and poverty, and severe fish catch decline which commenced in 2005 will refute their claims.