Robredo an exemplar of public service, says Paje, Gold production declines, Paje cites smuggling and Bishops, groups remind P-Noy to reject the Tampakan Mining Project
Posted on August 25th By the department of environment and natural resources
Bishops, groups remind P-Noy to reject the Tampakan Mining Project
MANILA, August 20, 2012 – Malacañang received on August 14 a letter from two Catholic bishops and other environmental groups urging the President to immediately deny the appeal of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) for the issuance of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for its mining project in Tampakan. Groups reminded the President that Tampakan is not fit for mining.
The letter emphasized that the basis for issuing the ECC is incomplete. The group explained that DENR and its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) still failed to recognize more serious factors in rejecting the project which include significant environmental degradation, loss of water for agriculture and other livelihoods, and the long-term burden it will leave to the community once the mine life in the contract ends.
Alyansa Tigil Mina, one of the organizations who signed in the letter, pointed out that the Tampakan project is like attracting disasters that can be more destructive than what the country is experiencing right now.
“Experts had clarified already that the proposed site for the Tampakan mining project lies above a number of fault lines and the drilling activity of the mine can induce seismic movements. And even without the opinion of the experts, one can clearly see that just kilometers away from the site is Mount Matutum, and we still want to mine the area?” asked Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.
The groups enumerated in the letter the problems and risks that are inadequately addressed in the environmental study conducted by SMI and Xstrata themselves, which includes the misleading account for almost 4,000 hectares of forest land that will be part of the open-pit mine.
“At this time when we need to plant more trees, restore our forests and build resilient communities, our government should not engage in projects such as the Tampakan mining project that will continue to demolish our mountains, hack our trees and divide our communities,” said Anabelle Plantilla, Chief Operating Officer of Haribon Foundation.
“We should not further destroy our remaining defense against the impacts of climate change,” Plantilla added.
Meanwhile, the social arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines who had been opposing the project expressed disappointment to DENR for not making a firm decision to reject the project.
“How can we engage in business that even just in the beginning of the project had already violated our policies, abused human rights and ignored the rights of the indigenous people?”asked Fr. Edu Garguez, executive secretary of CBCP-NASSA.
“Unless the president wants to leave a horrible legacy to country, he can approve the project but he will be the subject of his own statement in his SONA, forgive and forget. Only this time, we will not give both,” Gariguez added.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.
Robredo an exemplar of public service, says Paje
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) family deeply commiserates with the nation, and with the Robredo family, over the untimely demise of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that Robredo, his fellow Bicolano, had been a valuable partner in the enforcement and implementation of various environmental undertakings that included the anti-illegal logging campaign, solid waste management program, use of geo-hazard maps among local government units, clean-up of waterways and Manila Bay, and engaging the Philippine National Police in planting millions of trees under the National Greening Program.
Paje said that Robredo had also distinguished himself as a Filipino. “He established himself as an exemplar of public service, utterly competent and dedicated; the many awards and acclaim he received from the time he was mayor of Naga City – the youngest city mayor in the country – amply attest to his impeccable credentials,” he said. He also added that Robredo was a devoted family man, loyal friend, and ever active member of his community.
He urged the men and women in government service “to rededicate (themselves) to the ideals of public service” as a tribute to the late DILG chief.
“The finest tribute we can pay him at this hour is to pray for the eternal repose of his soul, and, for the civil servants among us, to rededicate ourselves to the ideals of public service,” Paje stressed.
Gold production declines, Paje cites smuggling
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) today disclosed that the total metallic mineral production value during the first semester of 2012 (January-June) diminished by a staggering 26%, due to the 95 percent decline in the gold purchases by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
In a report to DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, MGB Director Leo Jasareno stated that the decline in gold purchases started during the second semester of 2011 when the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) strictly imposed the collection of the 2 percent excise tax and 10 percent creditable withholding tax (CWT) from the sale of gold by small-scale miners and traders pursuant to Revenue Regulations No. 7-2008 dated March 25, 2008. Said Regulation was superseded by Revenue Regulations No. 6-2012 dated April 2, 2012, which reduced the CWT from 10% to 5% effective April 2012. The BSP, through its five buying stations in Baguio City, Davao City, Zamboanga City, Naga City and Quezon City, deducts the corresponding taxes from small-scale miners/traders and remit the same to the BIR.
“Given the continuing high price of gold and the increasing number of small-scale mining areas, the decrease in gold purchases by the BSP clearly indicates that gold outputs are going to the black market and smuggling activities,” Paje stressed.
Director Jasareno said that the substantial drop in the gold purchases of BSP from small-scale miners and traders was a telling factor for the sluggish performance. He added that total gold production nosedived to 8,382 kilograms valued at PhP18.18 billion, from 22,804 kilograms worth PhP44.52 billion year-on-year, down by 14,421 kilograms. The BSP gold purchases accounted for a measly 786 kilograms as against the 15,003-kilogram contribution the previous period, representing the 95 percent plunge.
“In effect, the BSP gold purchases shared only a dismal 9.37 percent of the entire gold production, compared to 74 percent a year ago,” Jasareno said.
The report also said that in terms of percentage contribution to the total mineral production value, nickel outperformed the other metals with a 44 percent chunk, or PhP22.40 billion. Gold still managed to take the second spot with 35 percent, or PhP18.18 billion, followed by copper getting an 18 percent share, or PhP9.02 billion. The remaining 3 percent, or PhP1.61 billion, was shared by silver, zinc, chromite and iron. The report added that before 2012, gold has always dominated the production scene, contributing about 50 percent of the aggregate metallic production value.
Paje expressed confidence that the mining industry will bounce back, with the fast growing number of mining projects: “We see big mining projects in the pipeline, encouraged by the clearer direction the government is now taking in view of the issuance of E. O. No. 79 or the mining policy of the Aquino administration.”
“The development works of the US$ 300-Million Didipio Copper-Gold Project of Oceanagold in Nueva Vizcaya and the US$ 1.2-Billion nickel processing plant of Taganito HPAL in Surigao del Norte are in full swing. We can add to this the advance exploration works in the US$ 800-Million copper-gold project of Goldfields Limited in Benguet, the US$ 800-Million Kingking copper-gold project of NADECOR in Compostela Valley and the US$ 800-Million Silangan copper-gold project of Philex Mines in Surigao del Norte, and we are sure that the industry is bound for better times,” he said.
Paje is also seeking the immediate constitution of the Anti-Illegal Mining Task Force as mandated under Executive Order (E. O.) No. 79 to address the continuing gold smuggling.#
Tags: farewell robredo
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