Despite being non-operational for the past six months, a mining firm, owned by a former Liberal Party treasurer earlier accused by President Rodrigo Duterte as a “rogue” miner facing cases of alleged illegal extraction of minerals and tax evasion probe by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, bagged this year’s presidential mining award.
Francis Enrico Gutierrez, owner of SR Metals Inc., received the coveted Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award three times in a row now.
The Gutierrez-led firm identified with ex-President Benigno S. Aquino III and defeated presidential candidate Mar A. Roxas II was, as Duterte once cited, “assessed by the government to have violated the laws and fined P77 million, but paid only P7 million.”
Gutierrez was reported as among the financiers of Aquino and Roxas in their presidential bid in 2010 and 2016; respectively.
Another SRMI top executive, Rep. Edgar Erice, served as LP spokesman.
The remainder of the fine slapped on SR Metals Inc. remains uncollected and the SRMI violations remain.
Marginalized miner Rodney Basiana said adding insult to injury was the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award awarded to SRMI from 2015 to 2017.
The PMIEA said the annual award in the Philippines was given for the mining firm’s efforts in achieving environmentally and socially responsible surface mining and mineral-processing operations.
The Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association said PMSEA, which organized the annual awards as part of the Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference, said SRMI was recognized for its surface-mining operation.
SRMI was also last year’s PMIEA recipient, together with OceanaGold Philippines Inc, which won in the surface-mining operation category.
Established under Executive Order 339, Series of 1997, PMIEA serves as government’s way to recognize the “exemplary efforts of the mining groups and companies in achieving environmentally and socially responsible exploration, mining and mineral-processing operations.”