Illegal issuance of permit hounds marble mining firm

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    MALOLOS CITY—Illegal issuance of permits hounded the biggest marble mining company in Bulacan as local officials called for cancellation of mining permits in the province.

    Engineer Ruben Landayan of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Central Luzon admitted that the government cannot give a small scale mining permit to Rosemoor Mining and Development Corporation (Rosemoor) because it has been given a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA).

    He said that Rosemoor obtained an MPSA from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on December 12, 2002 that allowed the company to conduct mining operations within the mineral reservation area of the Biak-na-Bato National Park in Donya Remedios Trinidad town.

    However, less than a year later, the provincial government through the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB) handed Rosemoor a quarry permit on October 23, 2003.

    Rosemoor was then represented by its president, Engineer Constantino Pascual who was killed in an ambush in San Miguel town last June 8.

    Landayan said: “Hindi na puwedeng bigyan ng permit ang isang kumpanya na para makapagmina sa loob ng kanilang area kung mayrooon ng MPSA.”

    The same was the observation of Vice Governor Willy Alvarado who said that duplication of permit is illegal.

    He added that the destruction of Biak-na-Bato national park started when Pascual started his mining operations with the permit given by the PMRB.
    For his part, Board Member Patrocinio Laderas said that DENR’s issuance of MPSA to Rosemoor is already illegal.

    He said that the MGB granted Rosemoor the Quarry License 33 (QL-33) as early as August 3, 1982, which was cancelled in September 1986 by Ernesto Maceda, the then Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

    Records showed that Rosemoor went to court to reverse Maceda’s decision, but the Supreme Court finally ruled on March 30, 2004 affirming the cancellation of QL-33.

    Laderas said that “something smelled fishy with DENR’s granting of MPSA to Rosemoor in 2002 because its QL-33 is technically active until is cancellation in 2004.”

    The same is the contention of the provincial government led by Gov. Joselito Mendoza who asked Environment Secretary Lito Atienza to cancel Rosemoor’s MPSA.

    However, other members of the Provincial Board do not support Mendoza’s move.

    Board Member Vicente Cruz called for total mining ban in the province noting that mining activities in the eastern part of Bulacan have led to environmental degradation.

    He said, “why not cancel other mining and quarry permits wherein some were issued by the provincial government?”

    Cruz added that stopping Rosemoor will not protect the environment because the mining company is only one of the many that conducts mining operations in the province.

    Based on document obtained by Punto, there are at least 68 mining permits granted in the province.

    However, the MGB’s Landayan said 38 of the said permits were given by the PMRB, while others remain as applications.

    He added that only 11 of the said mining permits and mining applications are approved MPSA which were granted mostly to cement companies limestone, silica, shale, marbleized limestone and basalt.

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