EASTERN SAMAR province said on Tuesday that it warned chromite and nickel miners on Homonhon Island to comply with the environmental terms of their mineral production sharing agreements, and to settle their property taxes.
“Our Governor (Ben P. Evardone) has seen fit to give them an ultimatum (to fully comply) with the pertinent laws governing the environment and the extractive industry,” Eastern Samar Provincial Legal Officer Eden Balagasay said in a briefing.
Ms. Balagasay added that the mining companies were urged to fully implement the required social protection measures, ensure worker safety, and conduct development programs for the benefit of community members.
She said the province will recommend that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau suspend or revoke the mining permits of companies that fail to comply.
She identified six miners on Homonhon Island, which falls under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Guiuan, from which BusinessWorld solicited comment on the province’s allegations. No comment had been received at the deadline.
Miners had earlier been given two weeks to comply, a deadline since extended by the province.
Ms. Balagasay said that the province is currently reviewing the miners’ performance reports.
Provincial Treasurer Antonia Macawile said the province is also asking the miners to pay about P133.9 million in real property taxes, for which demand letters and notices of tax delinquencies have been issued.
One of the miners ceased operations in 2013, but remains bound by the terms of its Care and Maintenance regime, which leaves open the possibility of resuming operations, Ms. Balagasay said. — Adrian H. Halili