BIZ BUZZ: ‘Worrisome’ mining official
It’s early days, but there are already tough questions being asked in the mining industry about the inner workings of the current leadership of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In particular, some mining firms have raised a collective eyebrow over the naming of one particular official as officer in charge (OIC) of one of the department’s key bureau-level units.
This OIC replaced another official who also served as OIC of the bureau.
The problem, some mining firms told Biz Buzz, is that this new OIC actually has several cases pending before the Office of the Ombudsman that Environment Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga may not have been made aware of before she assigned him to this sensitive post.
More alarmingly, this OIC has also been accused of violating several environmental laws. We hear this is the very same reason why former Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu relieved him of his responsibilities at the regional level some years back.
Those issues are in the past. But in the present, the concerns raised against this OIC are slightly different. Some players believe he is favoring a Chinese-owned mining firm with nickel ore mining activities in Zambales—nickel ore that is exported to China.
This Chinese-owned firm is operating using the mining rights of another firm which claims it has yet to be paid the total sum of P1 billion for those rights. More importantly, the Chinese-owned firm was previously accused of having operated without an environmental clearance (transfer of which from the previous owner of the mining rights is prohibited by law).
Just last January, the Philippine Coast Guard stopped a vessel from loading nickel ore consigned by the Chinese-owned firm for exporting the shipment to China. The Bureau of Customs also issued a cease and desist order because the export did not have the required permits and proper documentation.
In any case, with this OIC back in power in this key DENR bureau, the previous owners of the Chinese-owned firm’s mining rights now fear the worst.
So the big question now is will Environment Secretary Loyzaga move to rectify this situation? Or will this OIC stay in place as some mining firms fear? Abangan!
—Daxim L. Lucas
Ikea warns Filipinos vs scammers
The mushrooming of fraudulent sites and sellers claiming to be peddling genuine Ikea products has prompted the Swedish homeware and furniture giant to go on the offensive against scammers preying on unsuspecting buyers.
Ikea Philippines, for example, has sought the help of the cybercrime unit of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to inform the public about these fake online stores and the legal actions that they can take.
As of March 1, Ikea Philippines has received some 718 reports of scams from its customers and so far, 64 scam websites have been reported by customers.
Ikea Philippines received its first report of a scam on June 6, 2022. It said a customer saw an ad on Facebook with the Ikea name and trademark, placed an order through the fraudulent website but the order was never delivered.
Ikea Philippines estimates unsuspecting Filipino customers have lost a combined P1 million to these fraudulent websites illegally using the name and trademark of the popular Swedish brand.
Buyers are thus advised to be vigilant and transact only through Ikea’s official sites and subscribe to the official Ikea digital and social media channels.
Email us at BizBuzz@inquirer.com.ph
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