Mine firm in Zambales turns tables on mayorPhilippine Daily Inquirer
The mining firm earlier accused of leveling a mountain in Zambales province has turned the tables on Sta. Cruz, Zambales, Mayor Luisito Marty for allegedly misleading the public on its alleged illegal activities in the area.
In a letter to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje dated June 27, 2012, an official of LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. (Lami) alleged that Marty’s real intent was to stop the operation of a port there, a move that can only be described as a “squeeze play.”
“This is not an environmental issue but a corruption and conflict-of-interest issue by the Mayor Luisito Marty. This is part of his plan not to allow anybody else to establish a port so that anyone who needs one will be forced to use his ‘favored’ port,” Lami General Manager Felipe Floria said in the letter.
The letter to Paje pointed out that the mining firm had filed charges against the mayor before the Office of the Ombudsman for nonissuance of a business permit and refusal to accept occupation fees, as well as for harassment in connection with the firm’s construction of a port. Marty and the municipal treasurer of Sta. Cruz were charged with abuse of authority and oppression.
Since a port is integral to a nickel mining operation because nickel ores are shipped in 50,000-ton parcels, Floria said Lami purchased a property in Barangay Bolitoc to build a port. Marty, however, did not approve of the port project because A3una/Shangfil, the mayor’s ‘‘favored” port, is already there.
“The ultimate objective of the mayor to ‘profit’ from Lami and other mining companies is clear. The mayor will not issue a business permit and not accept occupation fees so the mining companies would always be ‘under the gun.’ He also would not allow anyone else to have a port in the area, except his favored A3una/Shangfil, so that he could command a very high price,” the attachment to the letter further said.
At the same time, the Lami official denied allegations that the company is a Chinese firm.
“We are a 100-percent Filipino-owned company. We believe that the twisting of this fact may have been done to ‘piggyback’ on the anti-Chinese sentiment with regard to the ongoing issue between the Philippines and China on the Scarborough shoal.”
Previously, Lami was accused by the mayor of destroying the natural barriers of the town and leveling a mountain through its mining activities. Agham party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones filed a Writ of Kalikasan by the Supreme Court against the mining firm. The mining firm has declared there was no truth to the allegation.
This, according to the firm’s press statement, was confirmed by Region 3 Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) director Lormelyn Claudio who belied reports that there were serious environmental violations committed by Lami. In fact, she said, the company had complied with all the requirements set by the DENR-EMB. “The mandate of DENR-EMB is the issuance of an Environmental Clearance Certificate and conduct monitoring. There were violations but they were able to address it.”