Malacañang Palace ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to respond to a serious concern raised by a non-government organization over alleged illegal gold mining operations by a wholly-owned British corporation within the protected Magat Watershed in northern Luzon.
The Presidential Complaint Center, in a memorandum dated Oct. 2, 2020, directed Cimatu to reply directly to the complaining parties and furnish the agency with a copy of his rejoinder.
“Expeditious action is requested in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 11032, otherwise known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act as implemented and enforced by the Anti-Red Tape Authority,” the one-page memo stated.
PCC director Jaime LLaguno Mabilin said “failure to timely respond to the public’s concern shall be a ground for administrative sanctions under existing laws and regulations.”
Lawyer Arnel Victor Valeña earlier lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s swift action on the environmental and social concerns raised by the Action for Consumerism and Transparency in Nation-Building.
Valeña, acting on behalf of ACTION, called the president’s attention on the Runruno Gold Project being pursued by FCF Minerals Corp. within the 234,824-hectare Magat River Forest Reserve which covers major portions of Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and Isabela provinces.
Valeña also informed Mines and Geosciences Bureau acting director Wilfredo Moncano of the alleged violations of the country’s mining and environmental laws within the Magat Watershed.
“The documents prove that the Runruno Gold Project is clearly within the Magat Watershed where mining activities are expressly prohibited under the Mining Act of 1995 and the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992,” the ACTION lawyer said in a letter to the MGB chief.
Valeña asked Moncano to immediately issue a cease-and-desist order and revoke FCF’s financial and technical assistance agreement with the government that granted the British company authority to dig for gold in the area.
Valeña said there were apparent gross misrepresentation and errors in documents including sketch maps of Magat Watershed used by the MGB as basis of its grant of mining license to FCF.