DENR slaps criminal charge against Ipilan Nickel Corporation

 

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July 14, 2017. Puerto Princesa City. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through Brooke’s Point Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Conrado Corpuz, files today at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor a criminal charge against Ipilan Nickel Corporation for violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines.

The case filed by DENR involves a 1.7 hectare area out of the total 24-hectare forest cleared by Ipilan Nickel Corporation in Barangay Maasin, Brooke’s Point which DENR argues to be undoubtedly outside the company’s tree cutting permit.

DENR issued INC a special tree cutting permit in May 2016 as part of its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA). However, former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez cancelled INC’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC) on December 16, 2016, rendering its tree cutting permit invalid. INC argues its tree cutting permit remains valid.

“Granting without admitting that INC’s tree cutting permit was valid, DENR has a strong case against the company on the 1.7-hectare cleared area,” asserts DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino.

“This is just the first in a series of cases against INC,” says Corpuz. He said that DENR will also file other charges against INC upon completion of the inventory of the trees cut in the remaining 22.3 hectares. The onset of the rainy season and the huge number of felled trees has slowed down the retrieval and inventory of trees.

DENR is also investigating another violation – the construction of a mine yard road without clearance from DENR. Apart from this, Brooke’s Point Mayor Jean Feliciano is also batting to revoke the SEP (Strategic Environmental Plan) clearance issued by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development to INC.

“INC is criminally liable and Secretary Roy Cimatu wants to ensure that irresponsible miners do not get around the law,” says Palawan Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Felizardo B. Cayatoc referring to the Secretary’s instruction to not let INC off the hook.Further, President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced on July 12, 2017 that mining companies must make up for the destructive impact of their operations on the livelihood of farmers and fishpond owners.

“With the string of cases facing INC, there is little chance it will be allowed to continue its mining operations,” adds Bernardino.

News

 

PANGAPAT

DENR apprehends driver transporting dead wildlife

The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Puerto Princesa City, together with the Philippine National Police, apprehended today the driver of an unplated elf truck carrying dead marine turtles and pangolins while passing through a security checkpoint station in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes.

Officials of CENRO PPC's Regulation and Enforcement Unit assigned in the station identified the driver as Joshue A. Calinog, who was also found to have an unlicensed .38 caliber pistol.

Palawan’s Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Felizardo Cayatoc said Calinog was driving the truck loaded with 21 pangolins which scales were removed and then frozen; and 16 marine turtles (one green and 15 hawksbill), which intestinal parts were also removed and with only their heads and shells left intact. Pangolins and sea turtles are endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Authorities reported that the truck was from Roxas town. They have questioned Calinog but he had kept mum about the species. The driver was turned over to the police, while the wildlife species were brought to Palawan Council for Sustainable Development for proper documentation.

As this develops, DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Henry Adornado has instructed the PENRO and CENRO concerned to coordinate with the authorities for the immediate filing of appropriate charges against the offender in view of the provisions of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, and other laws. He also instructed all regional and field personnel to be more vigilant and intensify monitoring operations to track down and prevent unscrupulous individuals or groups from harming nature and wildlife.

“It was clear from the President’s State of the Nation Address. Protection of the environment must be our top priority. It will be a long journey and we are certain we will face a lot of challenges ahead. But we are more than ready to heed the call. Strategic measures are already in place and we are closely working with other agencies to strictly implement environmental laws and improve our operations. We can assure the public that we, at the DENR, uphold the welfare of our environment and natural resources above all else,” he said. ###

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