This time, Philex rapped over road

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BAGUIO CITY—Philex Mining Corp. is again being held to account, this time by government foresters, over a road that it allegedly built through a Benguet watershed without first securing the proper clearances, like an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

A forest management team, which conducted a second inspection of the Lower Agno Forest Watershed Reserve last week, said Philex destroyed 4.39 kilometers of woodland, including areas contracted for the government’s national greening program, to build a six-meter wide road to its new waste facility in Sitio Banao in Itogon, Benguet.

The new tailings pond replaced Philex’s Padcal mine tailings pond No. 3 which was found to have spilled wastes last year and for which the company paid more than P1 billion in fines last Monday.

On Feb. 11, Edgardo Flor, city environment and natural resources officer, ordered Philex to stop the road project, based on the foresters’ Jan. 28 report which said that “in the course of bulldozing the access road, numerous Benguet pine and gmelina trees were uprooted [and] some trees were left barely hanging [by their] secondary roots.”

Among the laws that Flor said Philex had violated were the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 (the Nipas Act or Republic Act No. 7586), the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 705) and Executive Order No. 23 imposing a national log ban.

The latest alleged violations could cost Philex P1 million in fines, as well as criminal charges for destroying a forest, according to a Feb. 19 report filed by the seven foresters.

It said the total value of the damaged trees and saplings was P165,386.70. The value could reach P1.6 million when it is multiplied by 10 to cover moral and exemplary damages, as prescribed by a Department of Environment and Natural Resources order.

But lawyer Eduardo Aratas, Philex legal officer for its Padcal mine operations, said the company did nothing wrong when it proceeded to build the road.

He also said the DENR was supposed to present its findings to Philex in a technical meeting.

In a Feb. 11 letter to the DENR, Libby Ricafort, Philex vice president for operations, said the area where they built the road was the site of Philex’s reforestation projects. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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  • Radeon Blue

    This is what happens when you pay a 1 Billion peso fine. Other agencies will want in for the cash.

    I wonder if they can do the same thing to small scale miners disregarding environmental laws?

    • rjimenez1226

      Ngayon ang gobieno pa ang may kasalanan. Mga utak-tansan  talaga kayo. ang laki laki na ng kasalanan niyo sa taong bayan may gana pa kayong magreklamo. Ifine ng P10 billion yang  companya na yan na walanag habas na sumisira  sa kalikasan.

      • cyberxed

        Hypocrite! Gumagamit ka ng produkto ng mina! Yang computer na ginagamit mo para mag comment dito galing sa mina. Sino ngayon ang utak-tansan?

      • Radeon Blue

        the government is probably doing the right thing in this case and maybe philex does deserve to be penalized. they can set their gun on philex because it can afford to pay.

        but what about the small scale miners that blatantly disregard environmental laws, like just throwing cyanide on river streams? The deadly flood in compostela valley with raging thick mud, rocks, trees and other debris was mainly caused by the diggings of small scale miners. why is the government not going after them?

        cyberxed is right. you use at least a computer or an electronic device and yet you’re against mining? you like the fruit but hate the tree? you should think with your head and not with your mouth.

    • cyberxed

       Hahaha… Nag umpisa na, maya’t maya may ibang ahensya na naman ang maglalabas ng violation para mabayaran sila.

  • Francis Santiago

    Ibang klase talaga gobyerno dito sa atin. Nagpakita kasi na may pera itong si Philex kaya lahat gusto na kumita. Baka pati MMDA nyan maglabas ng balita na may mga outstanding traffic tickets mga tauhan nito.

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