TO STOP THE NAPAOD ILLEGAL LARGE-SCALE OPEN PIT MINING PROJECT
This petition had 326 supporters
PETITION OVERVIEW: As of August 7, 2013 the scope of this open-pit mining operation is almost 8 hectres in width and 300 feet in depth. Bohai Top established a processing plant in the area and motor pool. Drinking water source of the residents is affected including rivers.
Mining site is about 2 kilometers away from the established protected area of Abasig-Matogdon-Mananap Watershed Forest Reserve containing an area of 5,545.00 hectares more or less.
This Watershed area is covered by Presidential Proclamation 836 declared by President Corazon C. Aquino on 18 November 1991. And it is within the area of Mt. Labo watershed, located in the tri-boundaries of the town of Labo, Camarines Norte, town of Del Gallego, Camarines Sur and Tagkawayan, Quezon.
Mt. Labo watershed consists of about 49,700 hectares of forestland. Mt. Labo is an important watershed, being a major source of water for Camarines Norte, and it is the water source of several major river systems. It was extensively logged over from the 1960s to 1980s, and the remaining forest is located on the steeper slopes of the mountains. However, a block of closed canopy virgin forest was located along the boundary of Camarines Norte near Mt. Labo during a recent forest mapping survey, that was reported to be in good condition and have minimal threats of encroachment. The forest is montane on the higher peaks, with lowland forest below c.1,000 m. There are also large areas of agriculture land and areas of marginal grassland.
Barangay Napaod is within the area of Mt Labo range straddles the boundaries of the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Quezon. It rises to a maximum altitude of 1,539 m, with several lower peaks, and has a rolling to rugged terrain.
IN VIEW OF THIS: We, residents of Camarines Norte together with our fellow Filipinos from the rest of the country, respectfully request your good office to help us stop the human rights violations and grave destruction to the environment in Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte by cancelling the Temporary Small Scale Mining Permit issued by Governor Edgardo A. Tallado to Mr. Nonie Besa and by the virtue of a deed of assignment of Mr.Nonie Besa, granted the Bohai Top International Mining Corporation to conduct Large Scale Open Pit Mining activities.
This petition seeks to compel Governor Tallado, who is the incumbent Governor of the Province of Camarines Norte, to strictly implement the provisions of Republic Act No. 7076, also known as the People’s Small Scale Mining Act, in order to bring to an end the rampant illegal mining in Barangay Napaod, Municipality of Labo, Province of Camarines Norte.
STATEMENT OF FACTS:
Republic Act No. 7076, otherwise known as the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991, was enacted in order to regulate small scale mining activities. As defined in par. (b) of Section 3 of the said law, “small scale mining refers to mining activities which rely heavily on manual labor using simple implement and methods and do not use explosives or heavy mining equipment.”
Moreover, paragraphs (a), (b) and (d) of Section 11 of Executive Order No. 79, issued by your office on July 6, 2012 mandates, that:
“(a) Small-scale mining activities shall comply with RA No. 7076, or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991, and the Environmental Impact Statement System Requirements under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1586;”
“(b) Pursuant to RA No. 7076, small-scale mining operations shall be undertaken only within the declared People’s Small-Scale Mining Areas or Minahang Bayan;”
“(d) Small-scale mining shall not be applicable for metallic minerals except gold, silver, and chromite, as provided for in RA No. 7076.”
In violation of the aforesaid provisions of laws and executive issuances, Gov. Tallado has repeatedly issued “temporary small-scale mining permits” to a certain “Nonie Besa” (who is believed to be a fictitious person) with alleged address at 1390 Tahimik Street, Felville Subd., Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Guiguinto, Bulacan. (mail matters sent to this address are routinely returned to sender)
The said “temporary small-scale mining permits” issued by Gov. Tallado purportedly authorized “Nonie A. Besa” to conduct mining activities in Brgy. Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte. Copies of the “temporary small-scale mining permits” issued by Gov. Tallado are available.
The violation of the law, rules and regulations is shown by the fact that the mining activities conducted in Brgy. Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte, are not small scale mining at all, as these activities make use of sophisticated heavy equipment, as shown by the pictures and even explosives.
Likewise, in violation of RA 7076, which requires that small-scale mining operations shall be undertaken only within the declared People’s Small-Scale Mining Areas or Minahang Bayan, Gov. Tallado issued said “temporary small-scale mining permits” despite the fact that no area in Camarines Norte has been declared as People’s Small-Scale Mining Areas or Minahang Bayan, as shown by the September 5, 2012 letter of Mr. Theodore Rommel E. Pestano, OIC Regional Director of Regional Office V of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
Moreover, in violation of the requirements of PD 1586, as reiterated in EO No. 79, no environmental compliance certificate has been issued for the said mining activities, as shown by the copy of the certification of Roberto D. Sheen, Regional Director of the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Despite the fact that residents of the Brgy. Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte, have been continuously asking Gov. Tallado to cancel or revoke the “temporary small-scale mining permit” he issued to “Nonie Besa”, Gov. Tallado refused and continues to refuse to heed his constituents’ clamor and periodically and repeatedly issued said “temporary small-scale mining permits.” Attached herewith are copies of letters, petitions, and affidavits of residents of Brgy. Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte, asking the governor to cancel said “temporary small-scale mining permit” issued to “Nonie Besa”.
Even worse, despite the illegality of the issuance of “temporary small-scale mining permits” and its subsequent operations, Gov. Tallado issued “Ore Transport Permits” to the same “Nonie Besa” authorizing the latter to transport “Iron Ore/Magnetic Sand” and export them. This is in violation of RA 7076, which as reiterated by EO No. 79, “small-scale mining shall not be applicable for metallic minerals except gold, silver, and chromite”.
Herein autnor of this petition has requested the assistance of the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Ramon Paje, regarding this matter. A copy of the letter sent to Secretary Paje is attached.
Roberto D. Sheen, Regional Director of the DENR Environment Management Bureau V, has already issued a memorandum in response to the aforesaid letter to Secretary Paje, revealing that indeed no Environmental Compliance Certificate has been issued for the mining operations in Brgy. Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte, and worse, these operations are in violation of RA 7076. A copy of said memorandum is attached.
The unlawful acts of and the gross neglect of Gov. Tallado and the indispensable cooperation of Mr. Besa and Bohai Top, in the performance of his duties and obligations, as mandated by the appropriate laws and its related rules and regulations in the enforcement of RA 7076 and in violation of said law, have caused tremendous damage to the environment, such that present and future citizens of Camarines Norte are deprived of the enjoyment of their birthright to a balanced and healthy ecology, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law except through the instant petition.
The repeated violations of the applicable environmental laws and regulations by the governor, and his failure to implement, as it is his sworn duty to implement, the said environmental laws and regulations, have caused irreparable damage and injury to the environment and the current residents and even to the future generations of the province of Camarines Norte. It is of extreme urgency. It is prayed of His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines that upon the filing of the instant petition, an Environment Protection Order be issued and thereafter enjoining Governor Tallado from further extending or issuing small scale mining permits, ore transport permits, mineral ore export permits, including those already issued by the Governor in favor of “Nonie Besa” or any other persons claiming rights under him.
Upon filing of this petition, we are requesting to show cause Gov. Tallado, why he should not be judicially sanctioned for his actions, which are clearly violative of the laws cited above, which actions cause irreparable damage to the environment and the lives of the people residing in the community in particular and the whole province in general.
In conclusion, a high degree of social volatility and heightened risk of environmental degradation highlight that the conduct of large-scale open-pit mining in a way that is responsible from a human rights perspective does not seem feasible in Napaod in the current situation. It is respectfully prayed that the President be rendered declaring all small scale mining permits, ore transport permits, and/or mineral order export permits already issued to “Nonie Besa” or any other person, natural or juridical as null and void, and immediately cancel such permits he may have already issued. It is also prayed that Governor Tallado be commanded to strictly implement the provisions of RA 7076 and its related rules and regulations, and desist from further issuing any small-scale mining permit including ore transport permit, mineral ore export permit.
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