Citizens block ore hauling in Zambales

April 7, 2017, Zambales—The exit points of Zambales are currently guarded by citizens to stop the dump trucks of four mining companies from hauling ores out of the province.

The mobilization led by Concerned Citizen of Sta. Cruz, Zambales (CCOS), Catholic Organizations, and other local Civil Society Organizations started yesterday, April 6, when agents of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided the ports where the dump trucks of four mining companies in the province load their stockpiles.

Up to 30 dump trucks that are carrying nickel laterite ores were confiscated by the NBI in the port of Binabalian and Bolitok in Zambales. The NBI brought drivers of the dump trucks to the province’s fiscal to file charges against them.

Dr. Benito Molino, Chairman of CCOS, said that they were protesting because the hauling of ores was illegal.

“The operations of these four mining companies were illegal. The Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) of these companies were already canceled,” said Dr. Molino.

These mining companies are Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines Incorporated, Eramen Minerals Incorporated, Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation, and LNL Archipelago Minerals Incorporated have been cancelled by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last February 8, 2017.

Despite the cancellation orders of the DENR and the Writ of Kalikasan issued by the Supreme Court last June 2015, these mining companies were still operating according to Dr. Molino.

Last January 30, 2017, DENR Secretary Gina Lopez ordered the said mining companies to pay 2 million pesos per hectare of ore stockpile that they will haul. The imposed fine will be used for the rehabilitation of their mining site.

Dr. Molino said that “We salute Gina Lopez for the swift action in stopping mining operations destructive to the environment. But these mines didn’t comply with the order of DENR. Instead, Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) III OIC-Regional Director Lope Cariño gave these mining companies an Ore Transport Permit (OTP) and the miners are using it to cover-up their continuous operation.”

He also stated that Zambales Governor Amor Deloso has no power to allow hauling of stockpile of large scale mining.

“There is no public consultation happened. Because they know that people will not allow these miners to operate again, but Gov. Deloso personally talked to the Barangay officials--That was the so-called public consultation,” CCOS chairman voiced out.

He also added that they will continue to guard the exit points in the south of Pangasinan and Zambales and will block any outgoing trucks of the mining companies.

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For more information:

Dr. Benito Molino, CCOS Chair – 09338784860, ben696molino@yahoo.com

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