Writ of Kalikasan issued on Zambales ore mining

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2014 10:28 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2014 06:28 AM

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a Writ of Kalikasan on the mining of metallic ore in a town in Zambales and directed the Court of Appeals (CA) to hear the case.

The writ was issued in favor of former Agham party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones, who alleged that the mining operations of Consunji-led DMCI Holdings, Inc. and DMCI Mining Corp. are dangerous to the environment and residents of Sta. Cruz, Zambales and nearby Pangasinan.

Palmones accused the firms of leveling a mountain in Bolitoc village, Sta. Cruz and dumping the soil off the seas of Sta. Cruz to create a man-made foreshore for their mining operations.

He said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region III confirmed these claims.

"[T]he subject land formation being destroyed by respondent DMCIHI serves as natural protective barrier of the residents of Zambales and that of the nearby towns of Pangasinan from typhoons and sea surges caused by it like what happened in Tacloban City, Leyte and some parts of Samar," Palmones said in his petition.

"Once these natural resources are damaged, the residents of these two provinces will be virtually defenseless and their life, health and properties will be at the constant risk of being lost," he added.

The SC has remanded the case to the appellate court for hearing, since the high court is not a trier of facts.

Palmones' plea for a temporary protection order (TEPO) for the temporary halting of the mining operations pending a final decision on his petition, has not yet been granted by the high court.