SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
The environmental justice group, Kalikasan, recently protested in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over the inaction, one year on, by the Philippine government over an environmental disaster in Mankayan caused by the Philex Mining Corporation:
On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Mine Disaster in Benguet caused by the Philex Mining Corporation, environmental activists from the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) led a protest action at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office calling for a full independent investigation of the national government’s handling of the mine spill case.
“A year after Philex caused the biggest mining disaster in Philippine history, it has already resumed commercial operations while dodging its responsibility to fully restore affected ecosystems and to pay full and just compensation to affected communities and people. The Aquino government has clearly let Philex off the hook a month after it paid a piecemeal fine, and this must immediately be investigated,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
Philex payed PHP1.034 billion in penalty fines to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of DENR (MGB-DENR) on February 18, 2013. On February 26, MGB already allowed Philex to resume commercial operations for four months, allegedly to allow the corporation’s rehabilitation efforts to continue.
“DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and MGB Director Leo Jasareno should be investigated on why they extended the temporary operation of Philex and where the PHP1.034 billion went. With so much corruption recently being exposed under the Aquino government and with DENR failing to be transparent where the money was spent, a serious investigation from the Department of Justice and Congress is warranted.”
“There is hard evidence that Philex caused massive pollution and environmental destruction, but the Aquino regime chose to ignore this pending its own investigation. Why does this not apply to Philex’s resumption when government has yet to ascertain the safety of its operations? This political accommodation of environmental criminals speaks of rampant corruption in the bureaucracy. We sincerely hope this double standard was not bought for a low price of 1.034 billion pesos,” Bautista ended.