Revocation of Mayor's Permit of SMI - Tampakan Copper and Gold Project Hailed
Press Statement | September 16, 2022
Tampakan Forum welcomed the decision of Mayor Leonard Escobillo of the Municipality of Tampakan, South Cotabato revoking the Mayor’s Permit of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. due to fraud and misrepresentation in the description of the business being undertaken.
“We commend the local government of Tampakan for applying the law and holding the mining company accountable for its false statements in its Mayor’s Permit documents,” said Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina National Coordinator.
Rene Pamplona, ATM Chair said the revocation of the Mayor’s Permit is a “welcome development, especially among us, residents of Tampakan, who have been opposing mining in the area.”
“The revocation can be considered as another victory towards stopping SMI from operating in the area. We laud the LGU for this positive move,” said Fr. Jerome Millan, Director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel.
“As mandated by the Local Government Code, the LGU of Tampakan made good on its duty to ensure benefit for its constituents. We hope Tampakan’s leadership continues to stand firm and further protect Tampakan’s environment—this is ultimately its wealth,” said Atty. Ryan Roset of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC).
“This decision coming from the chief leader of the Municipal Government of Tampakan is a step forward in ensuring that residents of the Municipality will have a healthy ecology today and a better future. Uncovering the deception by Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) and decisively challenging it by revoking its business permit shows that Mayor Leonard Escobilla upholds transparency in governance. And more, it gives an example for other LGUs that they the power to exercise their authority under the law, to willfully decide on its development direction, protect its people and ecological systems, and assert its governmental autonomy,” said Yoly Esguerra of Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI)
On the other hand, Mayor Escobillo clarified in a press conference today that “we are just doing our job, being officials.”
“Nothing personal about this case. No opinion for or against mining. We are just doing our obligation to implement ordinances,” said Mayor Escobillo.
In its “Message for Transmission” to the Management of SMI, Mayor Escobillo pointed out that as per its Mayor’s Permit, SMI is classified as a Mineral Exploration Manufacturer. This is contrary to the assessment of the Municipal Treasurer’s Office that the company is not operating as a manufacturer but as a general engineering contractor.
Furthermore, SMI personnel falsely stated under oath that the company’s declared amount indicated on its gross receipts come from the sale of unserviceable assets such as tables, computers, equipment etc. that can be considered income but not due to the company’s mining operation.
It is for these reasons that the Mayor’s Permit was revoked.
Earlier, Sagittarius Mines filed a civil case against the local government of Tampakan after the latter charged the company P397 million in taxes.