Thursday, March 19, 2009

Provincial environment office allowing mining

My understanding of Philippine environmental laws is that for mining and quarrying, the company, big or small, must first get a barangay permit (issued by the village or barangay captain) after conducting public consultation, then get a municipal or city clearance (issued by the Mayor), then up to the provincial permit (issued by the Provincial environment officer).

But there was a mining company in western Pangasinan, Northwest Mining, who did not secure a barangay or municipal permits, but was nonetheless granted a "small-scale mining permit" to quarry by the Provincial environment and natural resources office.

The site of their quarrying was in Barangay Laguit Padilla, Bugallon, Pangasinan. I do not know how "small scale mining" is defined, but the company has 2 heavy equipment -- a bulldozer and a back hoe -- plus several 10-wheeler trucks carrying soil with silica deposits.

There were ecological damage in the quarry area, of course. Like loosening the soil, making flat area become depressed area with the huge volume of soil and earth materials that have been removed.

After a few months of operation, until about January or early February this year, the company has stopped mining.

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