Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) Issued against MMDC by RTC Judge

Published: 17th February 2011
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Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, November 11, 2010:

At 9 a.m. this morning, a summons for a hearing with a 72 hour TEPO was served to Edgardo V. Caringal, Resident Mine Manager of Marcventures Mining Development Corporation (MMDC). The hearing is scheduled tomorrow, Friday at 8:30 a.m. with RTC Judge Alfredo P. Halad.

A environmental case against MMDC was filed at the RTC court in Cantilan by a group of small farmers, members of indigenous communities, fisher folks, women and children, seeking for judicial intervention so that their rights to health and a balanced ecology may be upheld and the autonomy of local governments be protected in the face of the destructive and illegal mining operations conducted by MMDC in the proclaimed Watershed Forest Reserve of Cantilan, Madrid and Carrascal under Presidential Proclamation No. 1747.

On November 8, in a quiet show of protest, close to 400 farmers and fisher folk accompanied by members of a Non-Government Office coalition, quietly marched from the parish convent grounds to the offices of MMDC, to tell the mining company that their mining operations is a big threat to their livelihood and politely requested them to stop their operations in protected critical watershed. The march continued to the DENR office and culminated at the Tribunal, a 131 year old building which houses the offices of the Local Government Unit. The Vice Mayor invited the marchers to a dialogue where he and SB member John G. Vega tried to address their concerns.

Vice Mayor Virgilio Azarcon assured the group that Mayor Genito Guardo, who was on leave, supports the groupís stand against mining in Cantilan and also wants to file legal action against the mining company. SB Vegaís resolution to file legal action against the mining company in October was approved last Tuesday, November 9.

At the dialogue, SB Vega informed the group that he saw a copy of the business permit issued to MMDC by Carrascal Mayor Vicente Pimentel former governor of Surigao del Sur. MMDC was not given a permit by Mayor Guardo of Cantilan.

MMDC rehabilitated its old logging roads from its mining site in Brgy Cabangahan, in Cantilan to Brgy. Panikian in Carrascal when it failed to get a permit from Cantilan Mayor Guardo.

MMDCís Mineral Product Sharing Agreement (MPSA) is within the 43,601 hectare Critical Watershed area declared by Presidential Proclamation 1747 on March 23, 2009. The proclamation explicitly mandated that: "The DENR shall immediately undertake the final survey and delineation on the ground of the boundaries of the watershed. This critical watershed shall be under the administrative jurisdiction of DENR and shall be managed in accordance with the provisions of RA 7586 or the NIPAS Act of 1992.

A Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) was created which promptly issued a resolution to temporarily stop the mining companyís operations until the delineation of the watershed. The DENR ignored the resolution and the mining company was issued a "notice to proceed" to Development Stage by the Mines & Geosciences Bureau, clearly violating the NIPAS Act.

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