MAC: Mines and Communities

Davao Oriental Governor Holds Granting Of Mining Permits

Published by MAC on 2007-08-12
Source: Business World ()

Davao Oriental governor holds granting of mining permits

Business World : The Nation - http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?id=071

12th August 2007

Davao City --- Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon has suspended the granting of mining permits especially to small-scale miners following the controversies hounding the industry.

Ms. Malanyaon said the suspension was based on reports that some mining permits were not completed, and that the companies or individuals who were holders of the permits did not comply with the requirements.

Controversies prompt Davao Oriental to suspend issuance of mining permits.

"I am also evaluating whether those that were issued with permits really complied with the requirements," she said, pointing out that one of the requirements was those prior consent of indigenous communities in the area.

She said she was also informed that some mining groups were even maintaining private army and that she could never tolerate these activities.

Another reason for the suspension was the arrest of Gilbert Pajo, environment and natural resources officer of the province, for allegedly trying to extort money from a businessman exporting copper ore.

Ms. Malanyaon said there is a need to look into the charges against Mr. Pajo.

Davao Oriental province is among those established to have large deposits of chromite, copper and nickel.

With positive findings of gold deposits, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said the volume of the precious metal cannot be determined as yet.

The Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group earlier arrested Mr. Pajo after Ruben Feliciano, a copper ore exporter, complained that the government official tried to extort P100,000 from him in exchange for the granting of an ore transport permit.

Mr. Pajo, in an interview on local television, dragged former governor Ma. Elena Palma Gil as among those whom he shared the bribe. Ms. Palma Gil denied the claim.

Complicated problem

The controversy was further complicated since Mr. Feliciano's source of ore was allegedly extracted from a concession area granted to another mining company, Global Integrated Ore Mining Corp. whose president is Ramonsito Uy.

Mr. Uy filed a complaint with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources questioning the grant of temporary permits to three other companies, including Mr. Feliciano's, despite the permit granted to him by the department on Nov. 10, 2006.

Mr. Uy's permit covered about 20 hectares in Calapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental, the area where Mr. Feliciano allegedly extracted the ores. --- Carmelito Q. Francisco

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