Camarines Norte Gov. Tallado says ‘conscience clean’ vs illegal mining claimsBy Jamie Elona
MANILA, Philippines – Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado has denied his alleged involvement in various illegal mining activities in the towns of Paracale and Jose Panganiban, but welcomed the investigation launched by Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“Tama lang po ang order ni DILG Robredo na gumawa ng imbestigasyon tungkol sa anumang reklamo laban sa akin [It’s just right that DILG Robredo conducts an investigation into any complaint against me],” he said in a statement to reporters Wednesday, adding that his “conscience is clean” and that he need not worry about anything.
“Wala naman akong kasalanan sa bayan at sa taong-bayan kung kaya’t hindi ako dapat maging balat-sibuyas sa mga puna o batikos man [I did nothing wrong to the country and our people that’s why I shouldn’t be sensitive to criticisms],” Tallado said.
Robredo said Tuesday that he ordered an investigation on Tallado following several complaints filed by various non-governmental organizations and environmentalist groups, saying that the provincial governor has the “blessings” of the illegal mining operators in the iron ore and gold-rich towns of Paracale and Jose Panganiban.
In the complaint letter sent to Robredo, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon dated June 18, 2012, Rio Paliza, president of the Paracale chapter of the Junior Chamber International Philippines, said three mining companies conducting “illegal and irresponsible” mining operations in Paracale were issued Temporary Small-Scale Mining Permit issued by Tallado’s office.
The firms, identified as Uni Dragon Mining and Development Corp., the Philippine Bao Tong Mining Corp., and Liaoning Fenghua Group Philippine Mining Company Inc., “has caused damage to some 40 hectares of coral and marine life in Barangay (village) Bagumbayan by disposing their mud waste directly on our sea that resulted to a waste-deep mud waste,” Paliza said.
The complaints against Tallado, Robredo said, were “serious enough” to warrant an immediate investigation.
Just recently, Robredo also ordered the relief of Camarines Norte Philippine National Police provincial director, Senior Superintendent Joselito Esquivel Jr. and two of his subordinates – Superintendent Lito Andaya, and Superintendent Godofredo Tul-o, also for their alleged involvement in illegal mining operations, particularly the sale of explosives to miners in the province.
Nonetheless, Tallado thanked Robredo for pursuing the investigation, saying that it will provide him a chance to clear his name.
“Maliwanag na ang mga ito ay gawa-gawa lang at gusto lang po akong sirain dahil malapit na po ang 2013 national and local elections [It’s clear that these are just the machinations of people who would want to destroy me because the 2013 national and local elections are near],” the governor added.
With a report from DJ Yap, Inquirer
Recent Stories:With a report from DJ Yap, Inquirer