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Back to the assault mines

CONTRARY to popular belief, the Aquino (Part II) administration in the past four years under our dear leader Benigno Simeon, aka BS, actually did only a few existing mining companies a big favor.

It was our leader BS who assaulted the mining industry by imposing effectively a unilateral nationwide ban on new mines with his controversial Executive Order No. 79, issued in 2012, supposedly to bring about “reforms” in mining.

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Remember, the year 2012 was the time of intense debate over mining in the country, featuring some pseudo environmental groups versus the mining industry, and our leader BS supposedly issued his EO 79 to bring about peace at last.

The order also asked the House of Representatives to come up with an improved law that would overhaul the scheme on revenue sharing between the government and the mining companies.

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Simply put, the government just would have to get more—much more!

But the filing of the bill on the new revenue sharing scheme, called HB 5367, happened just last February, or more than two years after EO 79 imposed the ban.

Up to now, the House ways and means committee still has yet to conduct even just one freaking single hearing on the bill.

By the looks of it, the bill would soon be a goner, what with the election campaign season already about to start, giving our beloved public officials absolutely no more time to do their jobs. Take a bow, Leila.

And so while EO 79 banned new mines, it could not touch the existing mines, which of course just continued operations without the need to share more of their revenues with the government.

Clearly, EO 79 only favored the existing mines, including for instance SR Metal, which reportedly belonged to one ardent supporter of the Liberal Party of our dear leader BS, a businessman known as Eric Gutierrez, who was ably supported by another LP stalwart by the name of Rep. Edgar Erice (Caloocan City) as stockholder.

Reports in this newspaper noted that SR Metal already lost the case in the Supreme Court—with finality, at that— which showed that SR Metal violated the mining rules with impunity.

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The company started its operations in Agusan del Norte with a small-scale mining permit, limiting its output to 50,000 metric tons of nickel ore at most.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (under the DENR) nevertheless complained that SR Metal, together with its subsidiaries, shipped something like 1.8 million tons of ore, valued at about P28 billion, all in a short period of only one freaking year.

The Supreme Court even ruled—with finality—that the action of SR Metal was destructive to the environment.

For such assault against the environment with its incalculable effects, in exchange for some P28 billion in revenue, SR Metal had to suffer a severe punishment: A fine of P7 million.

The company also shipped all those 1.8 million tons of unprocessed raw ore to none other than the big bully China.

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But here is another story in mining, involving a listed company called Global Ferronickle Holdings, reportedly controlled by the group of Joseph Sy, who also sits in the board of the influential PCCI, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, acting as the PCCI officer in charge for mining.

The company operates a mine in Zambales, where somebody who calls himself a “concerned citizen,” named Nestor Macaldo Cas, filed a case for deportation against Sy before the Bureau of Immigration.

Cas claimed that Sy, the president of Global Ferronickel, used spurious documents to support the “late registration” of his own birth, thus legitimizing himself as a Filipino citizen, legally enabling him to engage in mining.

Sy filed the late registration of his birth only in December 2007—or about 41 years after his birth in 1966.

Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison nevertheless dismissed the case, even upholding the position of Sy about the “presumption of regularity” in the late registration of his birth, because of the “stringent procedures.”

Regarding the case dismissal, Cas noted that Sy even failed to address crucial issues, such as his “lack” of school records here, lack of job history prior to 2007, lack of evidence of his childhood in the Philippines—not even one ID card from 1966 to 2007.

Thus Cas argued that the “stringent procedures” were not exactly followed, including the filing of the affidavit of late registration, which should have been done by the father, the mother or the guardian.

Sy himself allegedly executed the affidavit.

Cas also contested the authenticity of the baptismal certificate filed by Sy in the case, supposedly coming from Christ the King Parish, covering the Filinvest subdivision in Batasan Hills in Quezon City.

The baptismal certificate showed that Sy had his Christian baptism in the parish in 1966.

In his complaint, Cas pointed out that Filinvest did not have a church at the time, because the very plan of a chapel construction in the Filinvest subvidision did not come about until 1984.

In fact, the Filinvest homeowners named the chapel “Christ the King” only in 1991 when the Catholic church officially established it as a parish community.

There—according to Cas—the baptismal certificate of Sy in effect claimed that Sy was baptized in 1966 to a church that was constructed only in 1991.

Cas also noted the contested baptismal certificate showed that a certain Rev. Fr. Ernesto R. Gonzales baptized Sy, although “there is no Fr. Ernesto R. Gonzales in the list of parish priests of the church.”

Based on the Sy affidavit, the baptismal certificate was issued in 2004 by Fr. Antonio Max “Tony” G. Abuan.

Cas noted that the tenure of Abuan at the church was only from 1997 to 1999, adding that there is absolutely no resemblance between the signature of Abuan in the baptismal certificate of Sy and the “real” signature of Abuan in another document.

Sy also claimed that he was the son of Filipino couple Emilio Toledo Sy and Aida Samson Cue who married in 1964 in Balanga, Bataan.

A document from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the PSA did not have a record of marriage between Emilio Toledo Sy and Aida Samson.

While Sy claimed that he was born in Novaliches in Quezon City, specifically in No. 31 Visayas Avenue, Cas produced a barangay certification attesting that it was “not a valid address.”

Cas said: “There is a clear case of falsification.”

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