General Roy Cimatu is in, and so are the Chinese. The connection? Mining.
This week, both the Philippines and China inked six deals that covered mutual cooperation in the areas of logistics, mining exports, hydro power energy, tourism, as well as charter flights.
It was interesting to note that local miner Carrascal Nickel Corp. was in the loop.
“This business deal involves the export of laterite nickel ore to China by Carrascal Nickel Corp via the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group Co. Ltd.
CNC will supply no less than 1.5 million tons of laterite nickel ore to subordinate companies designated by the Port Group.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 May 2017)
Carrascal Nickel Corp. was previously recommended for closure by the former DENR Secretary and Environmentalist, Regina Lopez.
Based on Special Order 2016 – 655 last 8 Nov. 2016, the MGB findings on CNC were the following:
CNC is liable to pay for fines with the implementation of corrective measures (MPSA NO 243-2007-XIII (SMR)). EMB Regional Office is to file appropriate charges in the Pollution Adjudication Board for violation of RA no. 9275 or the “Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004”. Fines include Php 61,600 for the MGB, and Php 100,000 for the EMB.
The fines? Pocket change. But what about the RA violation?
While Lopez has already been booted out by the Commission of Appointments, the mining companies she has recommended for suspension and closure still have to undergo MICC’s review.
And though the industry can breath a bit easy with the new DENR Chief (General Roy Cimatu), does this mean that it’s business as usual for those previously recommended for suspension and closure?
Note that during Lopez’s CA hearings, the mining companies CNC included, complained that they were not given due process during the mine site audit.
If indeed that this MICC review is already taking place, is it fair enough to assume that no deals be done yet while MICC is still reviewing each case? Why is CNC signing a deal with our Chinese neighbors, as if it’s already in the bag? Where is the due process?