Tag Archives: Mining

Livelihood Opportunities and Poverty Alleviation…Oh Lord!


Three consecutive posts about Compostela Valley, Philippines. First of a happier time a few weeks back. I even posted that picture happy picture as my facebook profile photo.

It seems climate change is indeed a reality but over and over again in a year we keep on hearing the news of dead bodies being recovered  because of lack disaster preparedness and response.  It seems this will be the norm, the  annual destructive storms and the loss of lives and damage to property that comes with it.

Anyway, we ourselves put ourselves at risk because if you are dirt poor,  you rarely think of tomorrow, you think of how you can eke out a living for today.  Compostela valley is rich in natural resources.  The first thing I noticed when I entered the mountainous areas of the valley is though there is no large scale mining operations and there may be a ban in small scale mining operations, deforestation still occurs. Upland farming is still being done and slash and burn system still prevails.

Everyone has the freedom to do what they want just to survive their day to day situation. That’s a a democracy, I guess. However, freedom puts you at risk because you open yourself up to hazardous situations that can also kill you when the time comes. People know that what they do is dangerous and they know the risk.


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December 6, 2012 · 11:48 am

Accepting the Risks of a Hazardous Situation

44 dead in Compostela Valley town.

Less than a month ago with my guides, we passed by the town of New Bataan in Compostela Valley Province, Philippines.  First comment was the town was experiencing progress. Roads are being concreted and travel was easy. The province was known for limited infrastructure and undeniably small scale illegal mining scattered throughout the province.  A disaster is  always ready to happen given the status quo, with or without a typhoon, news of accidents in mine sites have been common in other towns such as  Pantukan and Diwalwal.  The scale and magnitude of the typhoon was the realization that disaster was indeed waiting to happen and risk had been common.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Disaster Management, Ecotourism, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment

Pangilinan says Philex to hire environmental officer | ABS-CBN News

Pangilinan says Philex to hire environmental officer | ABS-CBN News.

Honestly, there is something terribly wrong here, Philex Mining have always had an environmental officer. I know that because they are implementing an environmental management system based on ISO 14001 and it is mandatory for environmentally critical projects to have a Pollution Control Officer or Environmental Officer.  Executives are not supposed to contemplate on it, they are required to appoint one, accredit him or her in behalf of the company with the DENR-EMB and be accountable together with top management in case of environmental disasters.

There is a big difference between hiring an environmental officer based on DENR Administrative Order No. 26 Series of 1992  and having an “environmentalist” in the team, based on their self-proclaimed advocacy.  I have experienced that and it will be difficult, why, because the two would operate in a totally different framework. Philex doesn’t need an environmentalist if the purpose is greenwashing and publicity, their PR people from MVP’s side could definitely do that.  I am just not sure if there is a major organizational change since the acquisition of MVP in which the environment and community relations office have been taken out of the picture.

Compliance is mandatory, with or without a public image, a company must comply with applicable environmental regulations within the geopolitical jurisdiction it operates.  It just brings me back to the time when I have to deal with these so called “environmentalists” who would question my technical competence based on the way I look…terrible, these people just lack substance when they do not even know the context in which a company must operate to achieve environmental compliance… in the long run, their rarararara…just led to further noncompliance, far from continual improvement and enhanced environmental performance.

Anyway,  that is what the public is supposed to understand, being noisier doesn’t assure you of better performance. Are values really distorted nowadays? People can be easily misquoted and vilified. In the end, productivity is lost and seeing Cambodia and Lao PDR achieving better levels of sustainable development just further slows the pace of growth…values are definitely distorted, going against the law seems to be totally acceptable, as long as you are noisy and look better on the outside.


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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Disaster Management, Environmental Audit, Greenwash, Pollution Control

Palawan’s complicated politics

Palawan’s complicated politics.

I would like to share this commentary from the Manila Standard Today. To me, and based on my discussions with a number of people in Puerto Princesa, the conspiracy theory is true.   In dealing with corporate entities, compliance to applicable legal requirements is essential in having a sustainable operation.  Noncompliance to the law is a major nonconformity. If the political situation does not allow such political stability to conform to requirements, investors can always move to another country and make their investments there.

Such is the case with Palawan.  However, a number of entities, with political intentions  are trying to paint a picture that investments, particularly corporate entities, bring more bad than good. Rather than promote compliance to the existing laws and regulations, these entities are trying to put the law into their own hands.

With all these talk, I could not seem to hear the side of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, which is the main entity tasked to ensure sustainable development in the region under Republic Act 7611 which is the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan.  Palawan is the only province that has a legislated strategic environmental assessment which should be the bench mark for all provinces, cities and municipalities in the Philippines.  Yet, none of these is highlighted in the media. Gina Lopez keeps on banging our ears with her empty talk but she is already defying the law in the by-pass of RA 7611.

It is disappointing that media has  been louder than policy, when policy is far more imporatant than publicity.


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Filed under Biodiversity, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ecotourism, Greenwash