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Mining operation in Bohol stopped

First Posted 12:29:00 10/02/2008

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Tagbilaran City ? The Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional office in Central Visayas (MGB-7) has stopped the extraction of manganese in barangay Tanod, Anda town in Bohol.

According to a cease and desist order issued by MGB-7 Regional Director Roger de Dios late Tuesday, the mining activity, which was being operated by a brother-in-law of Anda Mayor Paulino Amper, encroached in an area that was not covered by its environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

The manganese operations stepped into a mining claim of Cebu-based businessman Domingo Chua, the cease and desist order issued by MGB-7 stated.

Sofronio Simacio, the mayor's brother-in-law who was granted a small-scale mining permit (SSMP) by the provincial government, will be made to pay fines, according to the MGB-7 report sent Tuesday to Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Central Visayas (DENR-7) regional director Alan Abarquez.

The report, signed by De Dios, was dated Sept. 26, but was released to the public only late Tuesday.

The MGB inspection team said it found out at the mining site traces of manganese extraction, a backhoe excavator and approximately 6,800 sacks of fine manganese materials, which weighed approximately 275 metric tons, stockpiled in the area.

According to the report, the MGB inspectors tried to get in touch with Simacio to get his side on the matter, but they were allegedly informed that Mayor Amper would like to talk to them.

The inspectors learned about Mayor Amper's relation to Simacio by affinity during that meeting, according to the report. The mayor was said to have defended the mining operations, saying it provided jobs to local residents.

Amper allegedly told the team that he and his brother-in-law thought all the while that the mining site was within the area of the SSMP granted by the provincial government and the ECC given by MGB to Simaco.

But the MGB's team report said that the mining operation of Simacio was ?clearly outside of the SSMP, and thus illegal.?

The MGB, in a letter to Bohol Environmental Management Office (BEMO) head Renato Villaber, recommended the suspension of Simacio's permit to the provincial government. /Inquirer

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