Philippines UpdatePublished by MAC on 2007-08-10
10th August 2007
Following on our recent reporting that former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza was named Environment Secretary, all manner of political 'chicanery' has followed. No sooner had Atienza pulled up his chair under his new desk than a large part of his domain was spirited away to the President's office. As if this Presidential power grab to control yet more of the mineral resources weren't blatant enough, the Arroyo family increased its personal influence by naming family members as the Chairs of relevant parliamentary House committees. The critiques against these moves have been loud and pretty unanimous (although the Philippine Chamber of Mines gave its backing to Atienza). The critics have included the communist NPA, who have once again threatened mining companies as legitimate targets in its war against the government, because of the President's aggressive promotion. Otherwise it is business as usual, with more follow up to the problems at TVI's sulphide dam, Atlas talking about raising funds from the City of London, the Canadian government making deals to increase its leverage in Philippines mining and OceanaGold and Royalco (who took over Oxiana's Philippine assets) running into concerted opposition from local tribal peoples, who have erected barricades to keep the company out. Finally, there have been reported deaths in a typhoon-associated landslide at Crew Gold's Masara mine in the Compostella Valley.