THE municipality of Jose Panganiban, CamNorte is seeking the right to dispose of a huge stockpile of iron ore from the defunct Philippine Iron Mines (PIM) at Baranggay Larap.
The mining company shut down sometime in 1975 after operations became unprofitable, leaving thousands metric tons of unprocessed iron ore in the former mining camp
The local government unit's (LGU) move was gleaned from a recent letter to Executive Secretary Paquito N Ochoa Jr, whose office has prepared an Executive Order dealing with revenues from mining operations around the country.
The upcoming EO is entitled "Upgrading Environmental Standards and increasing Government Revenues in Mining", which mandates the creation of a Provincial and/orCity Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) designed to oversee and regulate mining activities in the provinces.
In a letter dated March 23, 2012, Mayor Ricarte R Padilla sought to clarify the provisions of Section 2, para.2.1 of the said order that deal with the disposition of abandoned ores and other valuable metals.
Ricarte said: We have a huge stockpile of iron ores from the defunct Philippine Iron Mines (PIM) and the law is clear that these now are the property of the state, and can be disposed of thru competitive public bidding.
He asked: Who shall then conduct the bidding?
Ricarte has questioned the authority of the provincial government under the proposed law to dispose of the abandoned iron ore by direct negotiations without competitive public bidding.
He said the law was very clear that the stockpile, being property of the state, should be dispose of thru competitive bidding.
Ricarte said the abandoned stockpile is situated in the municipality of Jose Panganiban, thus making proper for the municipal government to undertake the disposition of said valuable metals by way of competitive public bidding and in cooperation with the national government.
The mayor has also asked if the LGU, being the host municipality, entitled to royalties arising from the sale of the abandoned ores.
The royalties shall "compensate for the degradation of the environment and the destruction of infrasture" such as public roads in Jose Panganiban.
Ricarte is seeking the authority for the LGU to sell the stockpile despite a provision in the proposed EO giving provincial governments the job to dispose of abandoned metal ores.
The mayor initiated the move, aware that the provincial government under Governor Edgardo Tallado is "less sympathetic" to his administration.