Group vows to stage legal battle vs MGB

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Thursday, December 6, 2012


AN ENVIRONMENTAL group is threatening to stage a legal battle against the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the City Government if they fail to issue a seizure and a custody order of the mining barge that got stuck under a steel bridge at the height of Typhoon “Pablo” on Tuesday.

The barge, registered under Philippine Long Sangda Mining Corp., was carried by the strong current and got snagged at the bridge in Sitio Bulao, Barangay Iponan, which resulted in a shoulder-level flooding in Barangay Canitoan.

Lawyer Butch Bagabuyo, legal counsel of environmental group Bangon Kagay-an Inc., said this is an urgent legal threat which the MGB must act upon immediately.

“This is urgent and MGB should issue the seizure and custody order immediately or else they should be ready to face the consequence of non-action of an urgent matter,” Bagabuyo told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Engineer Rodante Felina of MGB positively confirmed that the mining barge is owned by Philippine Long Sangda Mining Corp.

Felina said he will still submit his assessment to the legal department of MGB and will wait for orders from the regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

But Bagabuyo said “it cannot wait.”

DEC. 6.2012
A BARGE believed to be used in illegal mining activities got stuck in a steel bridge in Sitio Bulao, Barangay Iponan Tuesday at the height of Typhoon Pablo. (Joey P. Nacalaban)

“It should be acted upon today (Thursday) by the MGB. This is an urgent matter that the MGB should decide,” he said.

Bagabuyo said the MGB is the proper custodian of the barge and among its duties and obligation is to make sure that evidence of the existence of illegal mining is being kept properly.

According to him, it is also the duty of the government to make sure that the barge will be protected as well as ensure the safe flow of water in the river so as not to cause more damage and flooding in the area.

“Actually, this is like Bangon Kagay-an Inc. is only accepting the challenge by MGB and the City Government to go to court if they will fail to perform their duty,” Bagabuyo added.

Ramil Betinol, 38, a resident of Sitio Bulao, said some residents in the area have started to dismantle the barge’s metal parts and sold them at junkshops.

A resident of Barangay Canitoan, who requested not to be named, said the mining barge extracted not less than a gold bar in every two days of operation since April this year.

Philippine Long Sangda Mining Corp. along with three other barges are facing raps for violation of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 for illegal exploration and theft of minerals, filed by the MGB in October.

The incorporators of the mining companies are also facing charges for disobedience to authority.

Philippine Long Sangda was located and anchored along the river in Barangay Canitoan.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 06, 2012.

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