By: Roy Bersales
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) stopped the operations of six companies after they were found to have intentionally violated the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) issued to them.
The cancellation of ECCs of two property developers and four mining companies is part of DENR’s campaign to ensure that this kind of firms are compliant of environmental laws.
The practice of DENR in the previous leadership was that they allow and tolerate companies to operate despite of the deliberate violations of environmental laws, simply because they are big companies.
DENR Secretary Regina Lopez said she decided to cancel the ECCs of Century Communities Corp. because the La Mesa watershed area where it plans to put up a housing project was considered “critical area.”
Meaning, the environment of the area will be destroyed once a residential place is put up in the said location.
Century Communities is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Century Properties Group Inc.
Usec. Ipat Luna said the ECC of Davao-based mining firm Austral was cancelled because it operates near the Philippine Eagles’ habitat.
Luna argued that “Severe biodiversity considerations render Austral-Asia operations untenable.”
Lopez asserted that “biodiversity is a gift to humanity,” thus, it must be respected at all times by the citizens and the businessmen.
The DENR secretary, or the department’s regional executive director, is the one who issues ECC that certifies a proposed project is surely has no negative effect and impact to the environment.
The ECCs of Ipilan Nickel Corp., Core Mining Corp., and Lebach Mining Corp. were cancelled because their ECC’s were not valid because it has lapsed.
On top of them, the ECC of Donggwang Clark Corp.’s Sacobia Sun Valley Resort also expired, thus, was cancelled also.
Lopez said the DENR has denied the ECC application of Egerton Gold Philippines Inc. since it will engaged in large-scale mining project in Lobo Batangas, which will definitely affect the marine biodiversity of the area.
On top of this denial of ECC, DENR also told the Benguet Mining Corp. to show cause order for its failure to rehabilitate an open pit mine for 25 years and about its “negligence” that led to a toxic spill, which affected 1.8 kilometers of a river in the Cordillera region, DENR chief told the media.
Aside from Benguet Corp., 10 other companies were also given show cause orders to prove that they must receive ECCs.
These firms are the Sinophil Mining and Trading Corp., Mindanao Portland Cement Corp./LaFarge
Philippine Sinter Corp., Century Peak Corp., Filipinas Systems Inc., Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp., Wan Chiong Steel Corp., Wellex Mining Corp., PhiGold Metallic Ore Inc., Hantex Manufacturing Corp.
Lopez note that they were given seven days to show cause orders and explain why their ECCs should not be cancelled and why they should not be fined administratively for failing to meet the conditions pegged the issuance of the ECC.
Lopez clarified to the media that the evaluation of ECCs is separate from the auditing of mining operations.
Lopez made it clear that the DENR is committed to social justice and the filter to do this is through the common good.