An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines expressed concern over the resumption of operations of mining firms that were suspended by former Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez for their violations of the country’s environmental laws.
In an interview with Radio Veritas with San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, vice-chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, or CBCP-NASSA / Caritas Philippines, urged the DENR to let the Filipinos know the reasons behind the reopening of the mining companies.
The Bishop stressed that there should be a third party group that will prove that companies complied with the regulations so those that cause damage to the environment would be held responsible.
“I have serious doubts and how I wish the process is transparent and open for public scrutiny. So mining companies are held accountable for any environmental damages caused by them,” said Bishop Alminaza in Radio Veritas.
Climate leader and advocate Rodne Galicha first criticized the DENR’s decision to take advantage of the pandemic to make profits from the environment.
“DENR’s action of lifting suspended mining operations is taking advantage of the pandemic mobility limitations allowing continuous plunder of our natural resources,” said Galicha.
Galicha is also pushing to replace the Mining Act of 1995 by a law centered on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, and climate adaptation due to the current ecological crisis.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu clarified that only those who went through the proper process and followed the prescribed steps are allowed to return to operation.
Cimatu also confirmed on Wednesday, July 23, that the DENR’s audit team had issued a recommendation to unspecified companies that will return operations.
It will be recalled that in September 2017, the late DENR Secretary Gina Lopez ordered the closure and suspension of mining operations of 26 mining companies for violating environmental standards and the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
These include the following:
- Libjo Mining Corporation
- AAM-Phil Natural Resources Exploration and Development Corporation – Parcel 1 and Parcel 2B
- Krominco Incorporated
- Carrascal Nickel Corporation
- Marcventures Mining and Devt.Corp.
- Filminera Resources Corporation
- Strong built Mining Development Corporation
- Sinosteel Philippines HY Mining Corporation
- Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation
- Wellex Mining Corporation
- Century Peak Corporation – Rapid City Nickel Project and Casiguran Nickel Project
- Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp.
- CTP Construction and Mining Corporation
- Agata Mining Ventures Incorporated
- Hinatuan Mining Corporation
- Benguet Corporation
- Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company
- OceanaGold Phils, Incorporated
- Adnama Mining Resources, Incorporated
- SR Metals, Incorporated