DENR warns public vs bogus ECCs

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has renewed its warning against fake Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) circulated by unscrupulous entities.

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The warning was issued following the discovery of a fraudulent ECC supposedly issued to an indigenous peoples’ organization for a gold mining project in Zamboanga del Sur.

The fake ECC, purportedly issued by the DENR to a certain Balabag Indigenous Peoples’ Minahang Bayan Producers Cooperative (BIPMBP), bore the forged signatures of DENR officials, including that of Secretary Ramon Paje.

It supposedly gives BIPMBP the clearance to conduct an “open pit and tunnel method” of mining gold and other minerals covering some 25,000 hectares in Sitio Balabag, Bayog town.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno, however, clarified that no such ECC was issued by the DENR.

“Per DENR records, no such issuance exists and the signatures affixed to it are forged,” Jasareno said.

He said his fake signature appeared under the “Recommending Approval” heading while that of DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje under the “Approved by” heading.

“Even if a project involves a mining project, ECCs are not being recommended for approval by the MGB. ECCs are granted by the DENR only through the Environmental Management Bureau or EMB, not MGB. MGB does not grant ECCs,” Jasareno pointed out.

The forged ECC, dated October 20, 2014 with number ECC-R9-MBC-001-2014, used the EMB’s letterhead and the DENR’s official logo, complete with 12 “conditionalities” and even a provision on its volume extraction at 240 tons a day by “utilizing an open cut method by benching through minimal equipment and manual labor.”

The EMB letterhead, however, reveals already the forgery because of a wrong address, that is, North Avenue instead of Visayas Avenue.

Jasareno said Paje has already ordered an investigation of such violation and the filing of appropriate charges against the perpetrators.

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