Tag Archives: mining

KILLING MINING

rodrigo-duterte

rbad1
By ROGER M. BALANZA

NEVER mind that the mining industry is raising the specter of lost investments and revenues and massive unemployment if the government continues to look at the sector as something that the country can do without.

President Rodrigo Duterte has to make a choice between mining as a revenue generator and mining as a serious threat to people and the environment.
At this point in time, Mother Earth and the Pinoys are winning; mining could be on its way out of the country’s landscape.

READ MORE KILLING MINING

THE DURIAN BEAT: Duterte and killing the mining industry

rodrigo-duterte

NEVER mind that the mining industry is raising the specter of lost investments and revenues and massive unemployment if the government continues to look at the sector as something that the country can do without.

President Rodrigo Duterte has to make a choice between mining as a revenue generator and mining as a serious threat to people and the environment.
At this point in time, Mother Earth and the Pinoys are winning; mining could be on its way out of the country’s landscape.
rbad1The government has suspended the operations of dozens of large local and multi-national mining companies for serious reasons among which is non-compliance with requirements to replant trees in mining sites ravaged by unregulated and irresponsible mining.
The President wants to stop the mining companies from further committing this sin against people, nature and the environment – a callous practice by the companies.
President Duterte has issued a verbal order that should give the mining companies a big headache.
Short of ordering them to do a miracle, President Duterte wants trees – as tall as he is –standing in the devastated mining concessions in six months. Of course, this is impossible to do, but we believe that the President can do hell and order the closure of the mining companies if he could not see the trees in six months.
President Duterte may have lost a jewel in former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, whose confirmation was crushed by Congress due to a strong lobby by the mining sector for hounding mining companies violating environmental laws and conditions of re-greening imposed by government permits.
For Lopez, responsible mining, the mantra of the mining industry that mining can balance economic development with environmental protection, in actuality is a myth.
Bald and denuded mountains without any vegetation in the mining concessions are graphic evidence of how irresponsible mining wrought havoc on nature.
If Lopez were still in command of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources today, there would have been no need for President Duterte to warn the mining companies because the rapists of our environment would already have been closed down by the DENR secretary. Environmental protection is on top of the agenda of Lopez who does not give a hoot about mining and the income it gives to the government.
Her proposal that government programs including tourism can be alternative employment generators and revenue-earners larger than mining if mining is outlawed has not been tested due to the unceremonious rejection of her confirmation as DENR secretary by Congress, many of whose members have interests in large-scale mining. Adding to Lopez’s woes is the fact that there are people in the President’s Cabinet who are involved in mining.
With President Duterte’s strong-arm approach against errant mining companies and his now clear agenda against mining, Lopez’s idea should see the light in the future. If we were the President, we will have Lopez back in the saddle at the DENR.
The closure of irresponsible mining companies as vowed by President Duterte is a sword hanging on the environmental rapists. 
After all, there is no way that the trees they would plant today would grow above the President’s line of sight in six months. Except if the mining companies have God on their side or if they could still bribe environment officials as they did in the past to close their eyes on the violations.
We understand why President Duterte hates mining.
He has first-hand knowledge of the evils that mining inflicts on the environment, people and peace and order.
He was the chairman of the Davao Region Peace and Order Council during his early days as Davao City Mayor and had come face-to-face with these evils as a spin-off from the gold rush in the 80s and 90s in Diwalwal, Monkayo in Compostela Valley.
The turf wars between large-scale and small-scale miners in the 739-hectare People’s Mining Area in gold-rich Diwalwal, at the tail-end of Mindanao’s “Mining Corridor” that starts in the Agusan and Surigao provinces, was a story of greed and violence and deaths.
Outside of the mine tunnels, unregulated plants processing ores into gold spew out deadly mercury and cyanide to pollute rivers and cause disease.
The economic side of the Diwalwal gold rush was one-sided: while mine owners laughed their way to the banks, the mine workers got the pittance, just enough to survive, with mining malpractices and lack of safety measures constantly threatening to bury them in the cave-ins and landslides.
In the underground bowels of Paquibato and Marilog districts in the uplands of Davao City’s 244,000 hectares are rich deposits of gold and other metals.
Foreign and local companies wanted to mine the precious metals but their greed never went beyond their evil intentions that were immediately shot down by the Davao City local government and its officials from President Duterte, when he was mayor and vice mayor, to Sara Duterte, when she was mayor and vice mayor, and former vice mayor Paolo Duterte.
To totally stop the entry of mining companies, the Davao City government declared the city as “mining-free.”
With government agencies tasked with issuing permits flooded with mining exploration applications, then-Mayor Duterte had at one point been accommodating by laying down conditions for him to allow mining: modern technology that reduces to the barest minimum risk to people and environment and statutes that would ensure the mine workers would financially benefit under a revenue-sharing agreement with the companies. Until such conditions are met, Davao City is mining-free.
But Duterte also bared his reason why he is vehemently against mining which finally drove away from the mining companies.
Davao City’s mineral resources, he said, should be conserved as a “piggy bank” for future generations of Dabawenyos.
At the time, the promised revenues for the local government from mining was the least that Davao City needed.
Davao City was already an economically viable corporate entity able to respond to public services with its large annual revenue. As a premier city in Mindanao, it was experiencing a surge in investments that could ensure a highly functional local government unit. The city does not need the violence, the pollution and the social unrest that mining brings.
President Duterte may kill the mining industry but he should be supported for saving people and the environment.

If he did it in Davao City, the Philippines under President Duterte should also be mining-free. ALSO READ IN PNA

Roxas and Corruption: Campaign Planes, Election Spending, Mining Interests and Lumad Rights

Nroxas-richest 2about mar roxas

Election Spending Caps

The Manila Times reported that Roxas spent ₱774 million from January to December 2015 on TV, radio, and newspaper ads. The Philippine Star even reported that Roxas has the money to pay for Anti-Binay ads.

Roxas SALN vis-a-vis Election Spending Spree

Amid the over-spending allegations, YACAP Party-list Rep. Carol Jane Lopez  and Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, were quick to defend Roxas. They said Roxas “used his own money”.
Roxas 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) indicates a net worth of ₱ 202 million, according to the Inquirer. No other details were made public about his 2014 SALN declaration.

Roxas and the Mining Industry

A closer look at Roxas’ 2012 SALN shows that Roxas has a personal interest in the mining sector. His stockholdings, officially amounting to ₱ 120 million, include shares in seven mining companies, namely:

cessna

Roxas and his Campaign Planes

Bondoc of the Philippine Star reported Friday that private Cessna planes Roxas uses for his campaign sorties are wrapped in various anomalies. The aircraft are registered under Air Juan Aviation Inc., owned by a certain Francis Eric Gutierrez. These planes are also used to fly VP candidate Leni Robredo and the Liberal Party (LP) senatorial lineup..

READ: ROXAS ADMITS TIES WITH ILLEGAL MINER

Small-scale permit, large-scale mining

A decade or so ago, environmental non-profit Caraga Watch formally sued SRMI for vastly exceeding its extraction limits, causing massive environmental damage.

A simple Google satellite image shows the extent of SRMI’s over-extraction and its effects on the otherwise pristine Tubay environment:

aquino

PNoy and Mining

Since 2010, the PNoy’s LP administration did nothing to contain SRMI, despite incessant calls from genuine indigenous peoples’ groups.

For example, MGB reported that for the year 2014, SRMI paid ₱45.3 million in royalties to Tubay’s Lumads, representing 1% of SRMI’s total mining review for that fiscal year. That is, SRMI 2014 revenues from their Tubay site were at ₱4.53 billion. The 2014 market rate was US$ 41 per ton.

erice

Without batting an eye lash, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas has admitted his friendship with a billionaire miner, who had been investigated for illegal mining operation involving P28 billion worth of nickel ore. Eric Gutierrez is my friend, what’s wrong with that, said Roxas as Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte revealed that the billionaire miner and his business partner, Caloocan City  Representative Edgar Erice,  are bankrolling the campaign of Roxas.

Future of Mining in a Roxas Presidency

The story of Gutierrez’s SRMI is just a glimpse at how cozy the LP’s relations are with mining companies. Add the fact that LP’s Roxas is a shareholder in at least 7 mining companies, the future seems brighter in a Roxas presidency for SRMI and friends.

How exactly will a Roxas presidency benefit SRMI and friends?

READ MORE

Roxas and Corruption: Campaign Planes, Election Spending, Mining Interests and Lumad Rights

RIGOBERTO TIGLAO

TOPNEWSNOW!

Roxas admits ties with billionaire illegal miner

erice
Mar Roxas and Rep. Edgar Erice, business partner of billionaire miner Eric Gutierrez

Without batting an eye lash, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas has admitted his friendship with a billionaire miner, who had been investigated for illegal mining operation involving P28 billion worth of nickel ore.

Roxas’ friend Eric Gutierrez is also reported to have squeezed at least P18 million in questionable tax exemptions on jet planes.

He is my friend, what’s wrong with that, said Roxas as Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte revealed that the billionaire miner and his business partner, Caloocan City  Representative Edgar Erice,  are bankrolling the campaign of Roxas.

davao-city-mayor-rodrigo-duterte.jpg_0

Duterte blasted Roxas after the LP standard bearer boasted in his TV advertisement that he is not tainted with corruption.

Duterte, running under the banner of the PDP-Laban, has vowed to eradicate corruption in government if elected President.

Roxas, who campaigns on a good governance platform, admitted he uses in his campaign sorties jet planes owned by Gutierrez.

JET FLEET. A Cessna, one of 8 jets owned by Gutierrez at the disposal of Mar Roxas and his Liberal Party senatorial line-up for their provincial campaigns.cessna

Duterte said he personally saw Roxas taking Gutierrez’s jets in Davao City. “If that is not corruption, then what do you call that?”

Gutierrez is said to be known in the aviation circle as the owner of Air Juan Aviation Inc., which has 8 jets under the disposal of Roxas for use in his campaign.

Gutierrez and Erice, spokesman of President Benigno Aquino’s Liberal Party, are also known to be part owners of SR Metals Inc. (SRMI), and its subsidiaries San R Mining Co. and Galeo Equipment and Mining Co.

Engaged in nickel mining in Tubay, Agusan del Norte, the three firms masqueraded as owned by small-scale miners.

 Small-scale mining uses only shovels, picks, and wheelbarrows.

Upon investigation by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the companies turned out to be operated by big capitalists from Manila and employed heavy equipment and barges.

Under the law, small-scale nickel mining is  limited to extracting only 50,000 tons of ore per year.

The DENR investigation showed that in 2006 to 2007 the mining companies owned by Gutierrez and Erice reportedly over-extracted more than 1.8 million tons of ore valued at P28 billion.

The DENR slapped a fine of  P7 million for the environmental plunder and ordered the closure of the mining operations in 2007.

Erice, as then chairman of the SMRI, contested the closure before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, but lost in June 2014.

The closure order has not been implemented and the mining companies continue to operate.

Duterte said Roxas has been protecting the business interests of SRMI. “It is because of this protection that the mining operations of Gutierrez continue.”

Aside from environmental plunder, there may be a case of treason committed by Gutierrez and Erice.

The mined ore was shipped to China, but shiploads of it were rejected due to poor quality.

Intelligence reports have it that the bad ore were used in China’s hasty reclamation of reefs for airstrips in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which is claimed by the Philippines.

While Roxas said he was paying for use of the jets, the friendship between Gutierrez and the former interior secretary and former transport secretary of Aquino, is reported to have earned questionable tax bonanzas for Juan Air Aviation Inc., known in the aviation industry as owned by Gutierrez.

Jets are subject to 12-percent VAT and one-percent import duty. But the Aquino government has exempted at least two of the eight aircrafts at Roxas’ disposal.

Reportedly, a Cessna Caravan jet imported by Air Juan valued at $2,335,275, was granted exemption from the 12-percent Value Added Tax (VAT) in 2012. The exemption was worth $280,233, or P14,011,650.

Gutierrez and Erice are reported to have bankrolled not only Roxas’ 2010 vice presidential run but also Aquino’s presidential bid. A Citation Mustang of Gutierrez and Erice was used by Aquino and Roxas in the campaign.

A Gutierrez company, Galeo, also had been given VAT exemption for lease of the Citation Mustang jet.

CORRUPTIONThe lease with aircraft owner Boom Line Investment Ltd., based in the British Virgin islands, was for $30,000 a month for 24 months starting Dec. 1, 2009, totaling $720,000. The foregone 12-percent VAT amounted to $86,400, or P4,320,000.