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Why Abaya is not doing well at DOTC

/ 02:10 AM June 11, 2013

Malacañang should investigate the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for granting a mining permit to Investwell Minerals Development Corp. even if it knew that the company had issues with the government.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno reportedly issued an order authorizing the transfer of a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) from a company called TransAsia Oil and Energy Development to Investwell. The MPSA authorizes Investwell to mine iron ore in Camarines Norte province.

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Investwell, owned by Malaysian Yii Ann Hii, was barred by then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo from operating a mine site in Bicol.

The firm allegedly used heavy equipment and explosives in operating the mine site in an area reserved only for local small-scale miners.

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In 2009, MGB Mimaropa Director Roland de Jesus filed a criminal complaint against Investwell officers, including Yii, for “theft of minerals” under the Mining Act of 1995.

Mimaropa stands for Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan provinces.

Investwell was charged with the theft of minerals for allegedly shipping iron ore out of the country without a permit.

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The Puerto Princesa airport, gateway to the world-famous Underground River, has cracked floor tiles. Passengers sometimes stumble because of the cracks or the uneven floor surface.

The cracked tiles have been put together with—you won’t believe this—scotch tape!

This is very embarrassing for the country, in general, and the city, in particular, and the many tourists who arrive in the city daily.

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The terminal’s only functioning X-ray machine has inconvenienced departing passengers.

Passengers have to let their baggage through the final check X-ray, then get out of the predeparture area to the check-in counters.

“So, this is what they mean by ‘it’s more fun in the Philippines,’” commented an American tourist who was in line behind me at the counter.

Two other X-rays—one before the check-in counter and the other for male passengers at the predeparture area—have not been working for sometime now.

The maintenance of the x-ray machines is handled by the Office of Transport Security of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

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I’ve been blaming Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for the poor state of all our airports which are under the DOTC.

But a DOTC source told me that Abaya’s position is being undermined by subordinates fiercely loyal to his predecessor, now Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

The Roxas boys are not giving Abaya the cooperation he needs to make DOTC an efficient department, according to the source.

Abaya hasn’t brought his own people into the DOTC, according to my source.

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TAGS: Camarines Norte, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Transportation and Communications, Emilio Abaya, Investwell, Malaysia, Mining and quarrying, Philippines
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