Mining equipment seized

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014


A COURT order by the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Cagayan de Oro granted authorities to confiscate equipment at a compound previously occupied by a Chinese-operated mining firm in Barangay Dansolihon Monday morning.

Under the order of the MTC Branch 2 of Judge Eleuteria Badoles-Algodon released on May 29, Lumbia police led by its station commander Senior Inspector Allan Curato seized several heavy equipment in the area, including dump trucks, backhoes, loader truck, generators and compressors.

Lawyer Sammy Aguilar, legal counsel of Monigue Community Forest Development Association Inc. and Nahilaran Community Forest Development Association, Inc., said the order stemmed from the failure of the Chinese-owned Fuqiang Philippine Group Corporation to pay its obligations.

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"Ang Roa nagfile [og case] for using the 40-hectare land to operate their mining," he said.

Debt

Aguilar said Fuqiang has an outstanding debt of about P29 million to the owner of the land. The amount is equivalent to one year arrears since the company stopped its operation in July 2012. However, the order only mentioned of P15 million.

Since its owner Cao Zhishan and manager Carlos Xing have reportedly gone back to China, the equipment of the copper mining firm was put under the custody of the MTC and will be auctioned off to pay for Fuqiang’s debt to its workers and to the Roas, its former partner in the mining exploration.

"Ang mga butang [sa company] sa korte ni paingon dili ni sa mga Roas," Supreme Court sheriff Fernando Loncion told the former Fuqiang employees Monday clarifying on the custody of the equipment.

On behalf of Fuqiang, Cai Hai Hua, the Chinese caretaker of the company, said they want a settlement.

“What we want now, especially that there is no money to pay the workers is to wait until the equipment are sold so we can pay the Roas. We just want this settled," Cai said in Chinese as interpreted by Fernando Yap Chai, one of the employees.

According to Federico Roa, one of the landowners, the estimated worth of all the equipment amount to P8 million.

The said mining operations owed its employees around P2-3 million for their five months’ work, Roa said. "There is no other option but to sell the equipment."

Nine employees together with their families are living at the mining compound previously occupied by Fuqiang in Dansolihon.

"We’re okay. We will look for work in the city," said Wilma Dacal-dacal, 44, whose husband had worked for Fuqiang for four years since it started its operation in Igpit, Opol town in Misamis Oriental in 2010.

"Because of the mining ban in our city wa man gyud tay mahimo natanggal man gyud tanan ilang panginabuhi even ours," Roa said.

Roa recommended they will hold workshops for the displaced workers of the mining corporation, especially the women.

"Ang atong goal is to lead them to a different kind of business like tourism hopefully. Mangita tag laing maayo na livelihood, especially for the women," he furthered.

"If we win the case, himoon siyang plant sa processing sa bamboo or usa ka tourist spot," said Fernando Balbon Sr., manager of the Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM), a reforestry project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Northern Mindanao (DENR-10).

An "unlawful detainer" case has now been filed against the Fuqiang. Unlawful detainer is the act of retaining possession of property without legal right.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 10, 2014.

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