Latest Stories

Stop Zambales mining permits, SC urged



Ten residents of Masinloc town in Zambales have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop its provincial government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other agencies from issuing and implementing small-scale mining permits in the country, saying this violated the present law on small-scale mining operations.

In a 35-page petition filed on July 17, they sought for the high court’s issuance of a temporary environmental protection order.

Also named respondents were the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB), the Philippine National Police, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, and one Camilo Esico.

The petitioners—Robert Escobar, Anthony Fernandez, Geregorio Saga-oc, Noel Tabudlo, Rogelio Castillo Sr., Audy Panganiban, Manuel Mantolino, Melvin Orias, Robert Conejos and Mario Diaz Jr.—said Ebdane granted Esico a small-scale mining permit (SSMP) in 2010, effective for two years, and another SSMP in 2012, which is good until 2014.

The permits are “null and void,” they said, pointing out that these covered an area that was not declared and delineated a people’s small-scale mining area (PSSMA).

Ebdane issued 93 other SSMPs in just one day on July 12, 2011, the residents said.

Ebdane invoked Presidential Decree No. 1899 in issuing the permits, but the petitioners said that the decree had been repealed by Republic Act No. 7076, or the People’s Small-scale Mining Act of 1991.

Under RA 7076, small-scale mining should be undertaken only within the declared PSSMA or “minahang bayan.” The law repealed PD 1899, which was issued in January 1984 and defined and regulated small-scale mining in the country.

“The public respondents—especially Ebdane, the PMRB, the DENR and the DENR secretary—continue to apply PD 1899 by issuing or allowing the issuance of small-scale mining permits pursuant to the provisions of the repealed law,” the petitioners said.

Worse, they said, the DENR issued a memorandum declaring that both PD 1899 and RA 7076 are “valid and subsisting side by side.”

“Without any authority whatsoever, the DENR harmonized both laws by mandating that RA 7076 governs small-scale mining in areas declared as PSSMAs while PD 7076 governs small-scale mining in areas not declared as PSSMAs,” they said.

The petitioners said the DENR allowed mining outside of the PSSMAs when the “clear mandate of Congress when it enacted RA 7076 was to exclusively confine small-scale mining only in PSSMA-declared sites.” By allowing the issuance of SSMPs, the government was not getting a share of mining revenues, they added.

The residents urged the high court to issue a writ of continuing mandamus to direct the respondents to enforce the provisions of RA 7076 by prohibiting small-scale mining outside of the PSSMAs.

With the writ, they said, the DENR, Paje and the MGB would be directed to cancel and revoke all SSMPs issued and to stop the operation of SSMP holders, including Esico.

Citing MGB figures, they said, 291 SSMPs had been issued as of April 12, of which 99 covered areas in Zambales—the highest number in all regions and included the 94 SSMPs issued by Ebdane.

“What this discloses is that Ebdane and the Zambales PMRB are the most blatant violators in the issuance of null and void SSMPs in the entire Philippines,” the petitioners said.

They said Ebdane, the PMRB, the DENR and the PNP were aware of Esico’s use of heavy equipment, claiming that police had “constantly and continuously escorted, guarded and facilitated” their entry to his mine site.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Department of Environment and Natural Resources , Masinloc , MGB , Mines and Geosciences Bureau , small-scale mining operations , Supreme Court , Zambales

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Fears grow for hundreds missing in South Korea ferry capsize
  • Robot sub makes first complete search for plane
  • uFly fires flight simulator who appeared on CNN
  • DPWH allots P1.2 trillion for PH roads
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Marketplace