Baguio mining firm appeals to Duterte

LEPANTO Mining Corporation won't sit out their suspension after appealing their case to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The mining firm, after receiving their suspension in February 14 from the office of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, immediately filed their appeal to the President, according to its information officer Joann Gatchallian.

"We filed an appeal to the Office of the President. We believe there is no reason for us to be suspended so we are refuting their decision," Gatchallian said.

Gatchallian said that based on the conference of the audit team, they have not distinguished major violations of the company.

u201cBased on their findings, there are no major violations. In their report, they also said there is no reason to recommend suspension. And we are standing by that,” Gatchallian said.

Gatchallian said the suspension order remains vague as it failed to cite their violations under the provision of the Mining Act.

The company, added Gatchallian, has been asking specific details of violations through the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, and release of the audit report and findings.

Despite the suspension orders, Gatchallian said the company is still operating with at least 1,400 personnel.

u201cWe fear for their displacement, including their families and other affected people but we are not foreseeing that to happen,” she added.

Gatchallian also believes the operation of the mining firm conforms with the international standards particularly for the environment management system which passed the International Organization for Standardization.

u201cWe will continue fighting. We went to DENR and asked for a dialogue and we will again go to the proper venues like the Commission on Appointments. If it doesn't work, the management is willing to take legal remedies. We will go to courts if it’s needed,” Gatchallian said.

Lepanto mines have been operating since 1936 making their 80 years of mineral extraction in the province this 2017.

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