4 foreigners, 11 Filipinos sued for illegal mining in N. MindanaoBy Bobby Lagsa
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Northern Mindanao has sued four foreign nationals and 11 Filipinos and their companies for alleged illegal gold mining activities along the Iponan River.
MGB regional director Rex Monsanto said Friday he and lawyer Christine Lu, the bureau’s legal officer here, filed the charges before the city prosecutors’ office and the Misamis Oriental prosecutor’s office.
Those charged, identified with KFNET Corp., were Koreans Kim Hyo Soeg and Kim Hyong; and Filipinos Oliver Paningbatan, Zarex Ramirez, Elmer del Rosario, Leo Ching and Onofre Contreras.
On the side of the Philippine Long Sangda Mining Corp., charged were Chinese nationals Yuan Xue Song and Huang Ying Yiang; and their Filipino associates Johnry Loreja, Lucille Sy, Janette Go Sy, Roberto Buniales, Marilou Alquizar and Ivy Edong.
Monsanto said the 15 were identified as directors or incorporators of the companies conducting illegal gold mining operations along the Iponan River, based on documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Monsanto said the MGB filed the complaint against KFNET at the provincial prosecutor’s office after they were able to determine through GPS tracking that the firm was operating in the Opol, Misamis Oriental side of the Iponan River.
Philippine Long Sangda, on the other hand, was found to have been operating in the Cagayan de Oro side of the river, he said.
Monsanto said the MGB had ordered the companies to stop their activities as early as February but they ignored it.
He said the MGB had acquired pieces of evidence, including photographs and documents, which showed that the companies continued to operate despite the cease and desist order.
City prosecutor Fidel Macauyag said he would carefully study the MGB complaint and help the bureau in building a strong case against the suspects based on an order given by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
De Lima was here recently and had instructed prosecutors to help in strengthening cases against illegal mining activities.
Incidentally, Macauyag was the same prosecutor who dismissed the illegal mining complaint filed by the environment watchdog Sulog against two Chinese nationals last week “on the basis of technicalities.”
The suspects, Zong Hengyuan and He Jiancheng, were arrested in late October by the multi-sectoral task force against mining, which included Sulog, for illegal mining activities along the Iponan River.