The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said on Thursday it is set to file an illegal logging case against the controversial mining company Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) for clearing the forest inside its mining concession without a valid permit from the department.
DENR Regional Director for MIMAROPA Natividad Bernardino told Palawan News they have gathered sufficient evidence for the initial filing of a case against the INC, even as department personnel have yet to complete the inventory of all trees that were cut.
In early May, environment secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the company to stop its operations following a site visit to inspect the company’s alleged tree cutting activities.
Bernardino also said a recent site inspection conducted by the department indicated that the company may have committed additional violations with the unauthorized construction of a road leading to its mine site.
“Dagdag na naman sa violations nila ito. Gumawa na naman sila ng daan, ” Bernardino told Palawan News.
The company was one of the several mining companies whose environmental compliance certificates (ECC) was canceled by then secretary Gina Lopez following a nationwide mine audit.
Bernadino said she was disappointed to learn that INC had been continuing with its activities even after Secretary Cimatu’s inspection.
“We are wondering why INC continues to commit violations with such impunity even after being ordered to stop mining-related activities pending resolution of its case,” she said.
Town mayor Mary Jean Feliciano said they are asking help from the DENR to ensure that all alleged activities of Ipilan mine will be curtailed.
“Sobra na eh, hindi ko maintindihan kung anong klaseng mga tao sila kausap,” Feliciano said.
Bernardino added that the DENR is also set to assess the extent of soil erosion and siltation, which resulted from the forest denudation caused by the massive illegal cutting activities the mining company.
INC is an affiliate company of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc., currently the country’s third largest producer of nickel ore.
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