ENVIRONMENTAL ACVITISTS check this eroded hill in the hinterlands of Ajuy, Iloilo due to alleged mining explorations. A number of residents from hinterland villages of northern Iloilo condemn the mining explorations. They urge the provincial government to revoke the permits issued to the mining proponents.
70 mining applications waiting MGB action

ROXAS City – Seventy applications for large-scale mining in Western Visayas are waiting action from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

The MGB in Region 6 vowed to make a decision on or before the end of June this year.

“We are sounding the alarm…Mining in the Philippines has been so destructive that it failed to benefit the economy,” said Ma. Geobelyn Lopez of the Madiaas Ecological Movement.

Environment advocates gathered at Filamer Christian University here on Friday for a forum on the negative impacts of mining to the people’s right to a healthful ecology.

Data from the MGB showed that the province of Capiz has approved mining applications covering 10,510 hectares.

Teresa Marble Corp., Quarry Ventures Philippines Inc., and Walter Mining and Industrial Development Corp. are among the mining companies eyeing for gold and copper in the province.

According to John Heredia, lead convener of the Capiz Environmental Protection Alliance, the people are alarmed by the ongoing mining exploration in the town of Maayon.

“We are dismayed by the passage of Provincial Board Resolution No. 69 in 2007 allowing mining exploration in Capiz. The entry of mining companies is a threat not only to the environment and health but to the livelihood of the people as well,” Heredia said.

In 1999, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Capiz passed Ordinance No. 6 declaring a moratorium on mining for 15 years. This was later extended to 50 years.

It was historic, Heredia said. Capiz became the first province in the country to make an ordinance banning mining.

MGB Regional Director Leo Van Juguan said that instead of the December 2011 deadline for their taking action on mining applications, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje moved it to an earlier date -- end of June.

Juguan said his office will take action on the remaining 70 applications.

By taking action, he explained, his office may approve the application or give permit to the applicant; have the application endorsed to the MGB-Manila for a clearance to approve, processing or evaluation; or either reject/deny applications.

Early this year, MGB in Region 6 was able to resolve 56 pending applications -- higher than the 55 target applications by February 20 this year.

Of the number, 29 were denied and 27 were approved/endorsed to the central office.

For those denied, one was an application on Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), 23 for exploration permit, and five for industrial permit for sand and gravel.

MGB is the one that issues permit for sand and gravel which covers an area of more than five hectares.

Five applications each on MPSA and mineral processing permits were approved and one for industrial sand and gravel.

By approval, it means that the applicant has met the requirements upon evaluation by the regional office.

The final approval of the MPSA still falls on the table of the DENR Secretary, Juguan said.
The regional office, on the other hand, is authorized to approve exploration permits upon clearance from the MGB central office.

Further, 16 applications were endorsed to Manila to include seven MPSA and nine exploration permit, said Juguan.

“We are sounding the alarm on the ongoing mining exploration not only in Capiz, but also in the province of Iloilo. The people of northern Iloilo are also up against mining exploration in the towns of Lemery, Sara, Ajuy, Concepcion, San Dionisio and Anilao which are covered by approved mining permits,” said Lopez.

Clemente Bautista Jr., national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, said the Aquino government is pursing the mining liberalization policy.

“Under the Aquino government, there is an increased target mining output from 2009 to 30 
percent for 2010. The former Arroyo government was from 10 percent to 20 percent only.

Further, mining worsens mal-development and poverty in the country. The extractive character of the mining industry does not promote national industrialization,” said Bautista.

For its part, Defend Patrimony, a broad network of environment activists and advocates in Panay Island, stressed the need to be vigilant with the destructive mining operations that are taking place in the island.

“We will strengthen our advocacy for environmental protection here in Panay. This is a challenge for us,” said Lopez. 

‘Crazy’ man stabs woman; 
Capiz road mishap kills 2


ROXAS City – A 33-year-old housewife was stabbed to death by an alleged mentally-ill man in Sapian, Capiz.

In Pontevedra town, a motorcycle crashed into a truck, leaving two persons dead.

Insp. Rowell Bucat, Sapian police chief, said Gina Obamos of Brgy. Maninang, Sapian was declared “dead on arrival” at the Mambusao District Hospital in Mambusao town on Wednesday.

Obamos was on her way home from a grocery store about 7:30 p.m. when suspect Reli Cono, also of Brgy. Maninang, stabbed her.

Witnesses said Cono used a knife to repeatedly stab Obamos.

He fled after stabbing Obamos.

In the Pontevedra road accident Thursday night, the fatalities were Raffy Dequiña, 25, of Brgy. Poblacion, Panitan, Capiz, and Henry Molina, 25, of Brgy. Malag-it, Pontevedra.

They died while being rushed to the Bailan District Hospital in Brgy. Bailan, Pontevedra.

It was the motorcycle transporting the two that crashed against the parked truck along the national highway in Pontevedra, police said.

Dequiña and Molina were on their way to Brgy. Malag-it when the accident happened./PN

Farmer hacked dead in Dumarao

ROXAS City -- A 36-year-old farmer was hacked dead by a passerby in Dumarao, Capiz.
Gilben Padernal died instantly, witnesses said.

The suspect has been identified as Rogelio Estrella Jr., a resident of Brgy. Aglalana also in Dumarao.

The hacking happened Wednesday night.

Police said Padernal was binge drinking outside his house when Estrella suddenly hacked him.

Why Estrella attacked Padernal remains a mystery to the police.

Estralla fled after hacking Padernal. Policemen are now hunting for him.

Neighbors said they have never seen Estrella binge drinking with Padernal.

Investigation of the case continues. (Felipe V. Celino/PN)