DENR exec probed for leak of coal mine audit report | Inquirer News

DENR exec probed for leak of coal mine audit report

/ 02:32 AM September 30, 2016

ILOILO CITY—A ranking regional environment official has made himself scarce amid reports that he is being investigated for allegedly leaking results of an audit that favored a coal mining company.

Lawyer Jonathan Bulos, Western Visayas director of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), refused to answer calls and text messages from reporters.

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Bulos, who is usually accessible to reporters, is being investigated by Environment Secretary Gina Lopez for giving a copy of audit results to Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) that purportedly concluded that SMPC had complied with environmental laws and found its proposal to expand a coal mining pit “technically sound.”

Audit results

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An Inquirer report quoted Lopez as saying she was shocked and angry that results of the audit were given to SMPC.

SMPC cited the report of the EMB, an agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

 Protocol violated

Lopez was quoted as saying that Bulos’ actions violated protocol and had put the credibility of the report on SMPC in “serious doubt.”

SMPC has been operating one of the biggest coal mines in Asia on Semirara Island in Caluya town in Antique since 1999 after it took over the then government-owned Semirara Coal Corp. (SCC).

The company employs nearly 3,000 workers and supplies at least 96 percent of locally produced coal.

SMPC started to operate on the Panian pit in Barangay Semirara in 1999 after the Unong mining pit, located in Barangay Tinogbok, was closed down in 1998. The Unong pit used to be operated by SCC.

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TAGS: Audit, coal, coal mine, DENR, environment, Mining, report, Semirara Mining and Power Corp.
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