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JGL Replies to Charito Escudero About Mining in Matnog PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 05 January 2011 07:56
Hi, Ms. Escudero: From the tenor of the letter of Governor Lee to me, it said that the Sangguniang Bayan of Matnog issued a Resolution recommending to the local chief executive the temporary suspension of the mining operations conducted at Barangay Balocawe, "pending compliance with basic requirements for mining." A member of the SB of Matnog should now challenge the permit holder to show "compliance with basic requirements for mining" as laid down in the "Presidential Rapu-Rapu Fact Finding Commission Report" as it is the latest standard in the mining industry: Among others, 1. a letter of credit, showing that the permit holder has enough money in the bank to cover the undertaking, including payment for damages to residents in the area, like insurance coverage, in case, there is a violation of the mining law; 2. for transparency, the names and addresses and past capabilities of these miners should be made public and of the financiers of the undertaking, whose capacity to pay and track record should be vetted by the SB members and that these miners/financiers are willing to be sued in event of violation of mining law; In fact, for the benefit of the Matnog residents, who will be affected by the mining operation, they should be given an option to sue the Matnog, Sorsogon and Philippine governments in case of disaster so these governments will be very careful in considering grant of mining permit to anybody and this will give a peace of mind to these residents. 3. how much tax will the miners/financiers be paying to the municipality, province, and national governments? If the municipality of Matnog/province of Sorsogon and Philippine governments will only earn a minuscule tax as in 2% excise tax that the LPI of Australia-LG of South Korea paid to Rapu-Rapu mining concern, what benefits are the miners/financiers talking about for Matnog, Sorsogon and Philippine governments for this mining undertaking? Since the contract of Matnog with the Permit Holder took effect from Sept. 23, 2009 to Sept. 22, 2010, can't the Matnog SB ask the mining permit holder, who much he did pay in taxes to the town of Matnog, province of Matnog and the Philippine governments so far, before an "option to renew for the same length period" can ever be extended? 4. who can attest that the oversight of the bureau of mines is competent to oversee the Balocawe mining operation so as to prevent a disaster in the likes of Rapu-Rapu's? 5. And did Governor Lee offer help to Sorsoganons, who were affected by "fish kills" in the Rapu-Rapu in 2005? If so, what kind of help was extended by the provincial government to its residents affected? Was the “help” fair enough to the satisfaction of Sorsogon residents? If not, did Governor Lee even consider suing the miners of Rapu-Rapu at all or the Rapu-Rapu municipality or Albay or the Philippine governments that allowed the mining operation of Rapu-Rapu? If so, what happened to the lawsuit? These are some issues that should first be resolved by the SB of Matnog before it lifts its "temporary suspension” and even consider extending the mining contract. Otherwise, the SB of Matnog should now make its "temporary suspension" of this contract permanent. As in the Rapu-Rapu precedent, it is very clear that the permit holder should not be granted permit to operate mining business in Balocawe unless the SB of Matnog agrees. So an information drive on this topic should be circulated to educate the SB members of Matnog of the issues involved in this mining question for now since Governor Lee has no power to undo the SB resolution if we go by the Presidential Rapu-Rapu Fact Finding Commission Report. Any court action at this time is premature. You can spread this course of action for now in Matnog. Thanks for checking. Joseph JOSEPH G. LARIOSA Correspondent Journal Group Link International P. O. BOX 805072 CHICAGO IL 60680-4112 U.S.A. Tel. 312.772.5454 Fax No. 773.283.5986 Email: lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net
 

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