DAET: CamNorte Gov Edgar Tallado of this province yesterday welcomed investigation of illegal mining activities in the towns of Paracale and Jose Panganiban after Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M Robredo ordered him probed.
Robredo had accused Tallado of condoning illegal mining activities in two mineral-rich towns of Camarines Norte based on complaints that reached the former’s department and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“As a fellow public servant, it is just right for Secretary Robredo to order an investigation on whatever complaints against me. My conscience is clear and I have nothing to worry about because I have not done wrong against the people,” the governor said.
Tallado said he has no reason to be onion-skinned about the complaints against him and that he welcomes the probe because he said he would be given the chance to clear his name.
He blamed politicians to be behind the move to destroy his name as the local election nears.
Robredo has ordered the operatives of the Office of Internal Security of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) and the DILG Region 5 Director Blandino Maceda to investigate the case against Tallado as soon as possible.
He said the complaints lodged against Tallado were serious enough to warrant an immediate investigation.
The complaint about “flagrant violation of environmental laws” by three mining companies was lodged by Rio G. Paliza, president of Paracale chapter of the Junior Chamber International Philippines (Philippine Jaycees), which copies dated June 18 were sent to Robredo, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon.
Paliza complained against the operations of the Uni-Dragon Mining and Development Corp, the Bao Tong Mining Corporation, and Lioaning Fenghua Group Philippine Mining Company, Inc, which he said have been inflicting irreparable damage on the environment, particularly the Paracale shoreline.
He claimed that the three companies were issued Temporary Small-Scale Mining Permits by Tallado’s office.
Meanwhile, Paliza denied having connection with any politician in their quest against illegal mining in Camarines Norte.
“It was not Rio Paliza that Sec Robredo heard,” he said.
“He listened to the combined voices of constituents in Camarines Norte who were united by one cause. It was the result of the signature campaign we launched this year. He would say that our accusations against him are ‘politically motivated.’ ”
Paliza also denied that he himself is aiming for a position in the local government, saying that he has no political plans whatsoever and was just moved by the need to protect his own town.
“These mining firms have been illegally and irresponsibly operating in our town which has caused damage to some 40 hectares of coral and marine life in Barangay Bagumbayan by disposing their mud waste directly on our sea that resulted to a waist-deep mud waste,” Paliza said.
He also said that Philippine Bao Tao Mining Corp. has continued operation despite the issuance of a cease and desist order in Sept 5, 2011 by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for violation and non-compliance to the terms and conditions of its mineral production sharing agreement.
The other mining firm Liaoning Fenghua Group, Paliza alleged, is operating on full large-scale mining operations in Paracale manifested by its use of heavy machineries and equipment although it was only given a small-scale mining permit.
Meanwhile, MV Peace Angel, the bulk carrier which was held in position by local fishermen and the SPDM last June 5 while attempting to load 50,000 metric tons of the illegally mined iron ore in Paracale confiscated by the MGB and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), remains anchored on the shore of Pulangdaga due to the power of a cease and desist order against its crew until authorities have dealt with the issues regarding the legality of the mining operations there. – Bicol Mail