July 18, 2018, 11:58 pm
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DENR stops Ipilan Nickel’s operations

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) slapped a cease and desist order (CDO) to Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) in Brooke’s Point town in Palawan for allegedly operating without an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

Last month, the agency filed with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan a criminal complaint against INC over its massive tree cutting in Brooke’s Point in an area not covered by the tree cutting permit it secured last year. The act was said to be a violation of the Forestry Code of the Philippines.

The DENR said in an order dated July 21, the regional office its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Mimaropa said the INC “has been continuously implementing its project without a valid ECC.”

INC’s ECC was cancelled last December by then DENR secretary Regina Lopez due to the company’s failure to start its project within the required five-year period from issuance of the permit.

The CDO was an offshoot of an inspection conducted by the EMB and representatives from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the local government of Brooke’s Point and civil society organizations within the INC’s area of operations.

The inspection team noted that INC has constructed a mine yard road within its mining area even after its ECC was cancelled. It also claimed that the INC’s activities following the cancellation of its permit “are causing the release of pollutants brought about by the silt deposition from the road, thus placing the environment at risk and imminent danger.”

Earlier, the DENR attached agency Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) also revoked the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance issued to INC in 2010. In its Resolution No. 17-588, the PCSD held that no SEP clearance should have been issued to INC in the first place since the areas where it operates are “considered areas of maximum protection.”

The PCSD also noted other violations committed by INC, including its failure to secure permit from the municipal government of Brooke’s Point.

In a separate resolution, with number 17-589, the PCSD also recommended to current environment chief, Roy Cimatu the cancellation of INC’s mineral production sharing agreement with the DENR.

INC reportedly cut 677 trees.
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