As part of her advocacy to deliver social justice, Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez on Monday said she has canceled the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) of at least six companies.
Another 11 companies were issued with show cause orders after failing to meet regulatory requirements.
“The DENR has decided to adopt social justice. Social justice means that the use of the land benefits the greater majority and the common good. It is in our determination that we issue, such as the use of the land contributes to the well being of our people,” Lopez said during a press conference at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City.
“The heart and soul of the Philippine Constitution is social justice and human development,” Lopez said, adding that the DENR is adopting the advocacy as a filter and the fulcrum through which “all decisions that we make a non-negotiable commitment to social justice.”
The companies with ECCs cancelled include Century Communities Corp., Austral-Asia Link Mining Corp., Ipilan Nickel Corp., Core Mining Corp., Lebach Mining Corp. and Donggwang Clark Corp.
Century Communities is the developer for the proposed 58-hectare Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System housing project at the La Mesa dam.
Lopez said the proposed housing project will be located 24 meters above the water level.
Its Nova housing project was cancelled because the development, located on top of the La Mesa Watershed, could affect the reservoir that serves 12 million people, Lopez said.
“If you have households and it rains, that waste will go down the water table which will eventually go down the water reservoir. The land is still in a protected area even if they already sold it so we decided to cancel the ECC. The cancellation will be effective immediately,” added Lopez.
Environment Undersecretary for Legal Ipat Luna said the ECC given to Century Communities was subject to a lot of conditions.
“Some conditions were fulfilled while some were not. They need a permit from the DENR for tree cutting and we cannot give them that because of Republic Act 1336.
Meanwhile, Austral-Asia’s mining project in Mati, Davao Oriental was cancelled since it was close to the habitat of the endangered Philippine Eagle and between a bonsai forest and a cove, the officials noted.
“On one side is a bonsai forest and the other side is a cove. We’ve sent our people there for a biodiversity. The people that live there are very unhappy about the mining that’s happening there. In the context of social justice and common good we are cancelling it,” Lopez said.
“It has resources, which if explored and nurtured, can actually transform that whole area into an economic zone,” Lopez said.
Egerton Gold Philippines permit was denied because the mine would be set up in the Verde passage in Batangas province, where one of the highest levels of marine biodiversity thrives.
“It’s a gold mine of marine biodiversity and its barely scratched. Having a gold mine there is out of the question. It is incompatible,” Lopez said.
The DENR is also cancelling an ECC in Davao Oriental and three in Palawan province. These cover the Ipilan town area, which could affect a nearby spring and virgin forest, that the local government plans to convert into an eco-tourism zone.
The companies facing show cause orders are Benguet Corp., Sinophil Mining and Trading Corp., Mindanao Portland Cement Corp., Philippine Sinter Corp. and Century Peak Corp. for its projects in Sacsac,
Pinamungajan, Cebu and its limestone project in Anopog, Punod, Binabag, Buhingtubig, Butong, lut-od, Sambagon and Mangato.
The other companies are Filipinas Systems, Inc., Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp., Wan Chiong Steel Corp., Wellex Mining Corp., PhiGold Metallic Ore Inc. and Hantex Manufacturing Corp.