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DOE Sec. Angelo T. Reyes Answers Concerns Raised Against Coal Operating Contracts

Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes answers concerns that have been raised against Coal Operating Contract (COC) 143 that was awarded to Monte Oro Resources & Energy, Inc. and the small-scale coal-mining permit (SSCMP) (no. 2008-018) issued to Policarpio M. Torres.

According to Sec. Reyes, “these contracts were well above board. Monte Oro’s exploration project, which was initially awarded in 2005, was specifically for exploration only. I think these activities were misinterpreted to be actual mining.

“A COC which is at the exploration stage does not require an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) yet. The ECC will be issued before actual commercial extraction begins.

“On the other hand, on the matter of Mr. Torres’s application for the small scale contract, it is patently false to say that he didn’t secure or consult with local officials. In fact, he was issued a certification in connection with his application for a SSCMP by San Miguel’s Barangay Chairman (Jose J. Rima) on July 2, 2008 and Panganiban Mayor Gregorio E. Angeles on June 16, 2008 respectively. Mr. Torres has not commenced any mining operation since the issuance of his permit.”

“With regards to the contested area (also known as Area 10) of 8,000 hectares covering Caramoran, Panganiban, and Viga, Catanduanes, no proposals were made in the last contracting round of June 8, 2009.”

That makes all the hullabaloo brought up by NGOs in Catanduanes even more suspicious as merely a mercantilist NGO activity (which was the topic of yesterday’s column). How can persons living in Catanduanes not know that there were no plans to go into commercial production when Monte Oro had made its final decision on this as early as a year ago?

How can the NGOs and even the bishop say that there were no consultations when the local governments (down to the barangay level) issued permits for the activities of the small-scale miner.”

“Vigilance is a good thing but further research and investigation should be made before anything else. However, getting our facts straight is an altogether important matter that we should not neglect.” Sec. Reyes points out.

As I warned in yesterday’s column: Watch out for mercantilist NGOs who will do what they do only for the purpose of extracting a few donated dollars from foreign sources. Perhaps, we ought to have laws restricting the solicitation and receipt of foreign funds by our local NGOs as they have in other countries.

Non-governmental organizations (NGO) are fine as long as their real purpose for being is as they state and not as Dr. Sam Vaknin writes:

“Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV’s, sport $3,000 laptops and PDA’s. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional altruists

“Always self-appointed, they answer to no constituency. Though unelected and ignorant of local realities, they confront the democratically chosen and those who voted them into office. A few of them are enmeshed in crime and corruption. They are the non-governmental organizations, or NGO’s.”

If we could be rid of these types of NGOs, the Philippines would be a much better country.

Columns from Malaya and Abante - Edition 2009 - 232

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