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Jun 27th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Senator Pimentel's Reaction on the Illegal Extraction of Nickel Ores in Zambales
Senator Pimentel's Reaction on the Illegal Extraction of Nickel Ores in Zambales PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 23:45

Statement of Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. on the Illegal Extraction of Nickel Ores in Zambales:

I call upon Secretary Lito Atienza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Secretary Ronaldo Puno of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to rein in their subordinates who, in collusion with big mining interests, appear to have been making a mockery of the laws of the land on mining especially in Zambales and particularly in the municipality of Sta. Cruz.

In the last few days, I gather from reports that Benguet Corporation had extracted some 150,000 metric tons of nickel ores from Sta. Cruz without an environmental clearance certificate and without mayor's permits.

The extraction has reportedly been allowed by a Mr. Horacio Ramos, supposedly Director of the Bureau of Mines of the DENR on the pretext that the tonnage extracted was needed for “bloc sampling”.

To my mind, it is a clear case of evading the requirements of the law that requires environmental clearance from those who would engage in mining in any part of the country. “How can ‘bloc sampling’ justify the extraction of 150,000 metric tons of nickel ores and their shipment in three ships to a destination in China? At an estimated $30/MT, the ores extracted and being shipped would cost some $4.5 million. A lot of money in any language for the investors and their cohorts but hardly for the people of Sta. Cruz.”

Benguet also reportedly opened up roads in the municipality of Sta. Cruz without even a by-your-leave to the local government authorities.

If true, that would be rank insult and misuse of power by the powerful. We are not against mining. But we would like the miners to observe the laws of the land before they begin their mining activities.

The DENR and the DILG should, therefore, instruct their subordinates to desist from being used for unsavory and even illegal activities by mining interests. # # #

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 May 2008 23:47

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