No ‘mafia-like’ system at mining board

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Friday, August 8, 2014


THE Cagayan de Oro City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (Clenro) denied that the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB) has allegedly engaged in anomalous transaction on the issuance of permits.

The issue surfaced when Ralph Abragan, a CMRB member, divulged the board has a ‘mafia-like’ system when it approved a permit on a particular barangay official to run an allegedly illegal quarrying operation in Barangay Canitoan, he told a local paper.

Clenro chief Edwin Dael told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the allegation holds no truth.

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“As part of the CMRB, that is not true. CMRB is a regulatory board and every applicant goes through a ‘transparent’ process. We require them such as documents to be submitted and after which, if everything is submitted, Clenro makes an endorsement to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). The MGB decides whether they are to allow or not through an Environmental Compliance Certificate,” Dael said.

Dael explained that Clenro deliberates and will again endorse it to the CMRB, which in turn will meet and address the endorsement to the mayor.

“It is up to the mayor (Oscar Moreno) if he will issue a permit or not,” he said.

“The process the barangay official underwent was legal. His business was legal and his documents to support were all legal. I do not see why Mr. Abragan threw that kind of allegation to us when in fact, he is a member of CMRB and he was present in the meeting when the business was approved,” Dael added.

CMRB is composed of representatives from the city, an environmental group and large and small-scale mining groups.

Abragan is a representative of the environmental group Sulog and also the chair of Save CDO Now movement.

‘Serving two masters at the same time’

Dael, also a Sulog member, revealed that Abragan is a supplier of quarrying filling materials to Firm Builders Realty Development Corporation attested by purchase orders documented by Clenro.

Another paper shows that Abragan, as a general manager of Northern Consolidated Trading, sent a proposal dated April 7, 2014 to a property development company.

Dael sees this—Abragan’s proposal to a company—as a “conflict of interest.”

“He is not supposed to be a board member of CMRB and at the same time a businessman catering to filling materials. That is just wrong,” Dael said.

CMRB vice chairman Teddy Sabuga-a said that, somehow, what Abragan did was “unethical.”

“It is a yes and a no. It is not unethical for CMRB to have a member who is also a mining businessman because the composition of the board, provided by the law, has a representative from the mining sector. But other than the representative from the mining sector, like me and the others, it is somehow unethical for us to have a business on mining when we are the ones who are regulating. If proven, sayop jud siya,” Sabuga-a said.

He added the CMRB is still investigating the issue. CMRB will conduct a meeting today regarding the allegation.

This paper tried to get the side of Abragan, but he has yet to issue a statement regarding the allegation.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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