May 21, 2017: DENR chief urged to close mining firm in Palawan
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—As a litmus test to the environment secretary, an environmental group on Friday urged DENR chief Roy Cimatu to close down the Ipilan mining firm for cutting some 15, 000 trees in Palawan province.
Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, said that Cimatu should likewise uphold the reforms in the DENR started by Gina Lopez, specifically the mine closure and suspension orders.
“We demand Cimatu to uphold the historic mine closures and other initial reforms begun by the DENR through the marching orders of President Rodrigo Duterte himself,” Bautista said.
The Ipila Nickel Corp, one of the large-scale mining companies operating in Palawan province, pushed its clearing operation despite the absence of permits from the local government unit of Brooke Point. The mining firm cut the trees down even without the environmental clearance certificate.
“If Cimatu claims that he will maintain a ‘status quo’ on his predecessor’s mine closure orders, he should immediately revoke the mining permit of Global Ferronickel and fully close its mining operation,” said Bautista.
According to the group, the 343.3-hectare Ipilan nickel mining project, owned by a subsidiary of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. was one of the 28 commercially operating large-scale mines that were closed by then-DENR secretary Gina Lopez after a nationwide mining industry audit found these projects violating various mining regulations.