Former Cagayan ecozone chief faces graft raps for ‘overpriced’ dike

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba has filed a graft complaint against Jose Mari Ponce, former administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza), for the alleged overprice of a P5-billion breakwater project at Port Irene in Santa Ana town.

In a 41-page complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman last month, Mamba said Ponce entered into several contracts for the construction of the kilometer-long Port Irene breakwater, even if these were, he noted, “patently disadvantageous” to the government.

Mamba asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to charge Ponce with graft as well as investigate other officials and employees involved in the deals. Continue reading “WATER WASTE”



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Cagayan execs urge new Ceza chief: probe Port Irene ‘skeletons’

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Local leaders in Cagayan on Friday called on the newly-installed administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) to launch an “honest-to-goodness” investigation of supposed irregularities on the operations of its freeport in Santa Ana town.

Gov.  Manuel Mamba urged lawyer Raul Lambino, who took his oath as new Ceza administrator on Monday (July 24), to immediately order a probe in order “to stop all illegal activities and corruption perpetuated by the past administration”.

The governor said the new Ceza chief should reassess the viability of Port Irene as an international port, the operations of which, he said, have been marred by allegations of corruption.

“Billions of public funds have been poured into Port Irene, for which only a pittance was derived by government in the last 23 years of its existence, and for which transparency and accountability in its operation is seriously demanded,” Mamba said. 

Continue reading “HAUNTED”


Amid anti-mining rhetoric, gov’t gives green light to 2nd big mine in N. Vizcaya
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—This province officially becomes host its second large-scale mine with the approval Monday to start commercial operations, amid pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte expressing disdain for mining operations.
     Mario Ancheta, director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for Cagayan Valley region, said he has signed the permit allowing FCF Minerals, Inc., a British-owned firm, to begin full-blast mining production at its gold-molybdenum venture in Runruno village in Quezon town.
     “They had declared their intent as early as September last year but we needed to conduct our validation, and had to wait for the results of the debugging (test run). I signed (the permit) Monday,” he said.
     Ancheta’s approval comes a week after President Duterte slammed mining companies for failing to rehabilitate the damage they cause on the environment, as he belittled the industry’s contributions to the country’s economy.

Continue reading “ALL TALK”


Motorists slam DPWH over ‘killer’ repairs

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Motorists here on Monday expressed outrage over the supposed negligence of government on the safety of travellers, with simultaneous road repairs posing danger to the riding public.

Travelers blamed the crashes and gridlocks occurring on the highway due to poor management of traffic at road repair sites, and the lack and improper installation of early warning signs.

“The way the road repairs are being undertaken makes one think there is no government supervision. It’s like a free-for-all, ignoring the safety of the public,” said bus driver Roger Collado.

Ill-equipped workers manage traffic flow at a road construction site in Barangay Villa Flores in Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, one of numerous road works being carried out by the DPWH. Motorists have assailed the agency due to unending repairs for the supposed disregard public safety.#MELVIN GASCON

Continue reading “ROADS KILL”


didipioOceanaGold Phils. asked to start rehab of Didipio mine site

KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya–Town officials here have called on the national government to order a foreign mining firm to start its rehabilitation of the mine site in Didipio village after its operation was ordered suspended by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In a resolution, the Kasibu town council asked the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to direct OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. to repair a “gaping crater-like pit” in the middle of Didipio village, site of its gold-copper mining project.

The officials were invoking the Mining Act of 1995, that OceanaGold was mandated to undertake rehabilitation of “excavated, mined out, tailings covered and disturbed areas” of its Didipio mining site.

Continue reading “‘MEND DAMAGE’”


N. Vizcaya folk hail looming suspension of Aussie mine firm

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Residents of this province expressed delight over the impending suspension of operations of an Australian mining firm in upland village in Kasibu town after it failed a recent mine audit conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).



What used to be a vast green rice and vegetable farms in Didipio village is now the reservoir of toxic mine tailings from the gold-copper project of OceanaGold, Philippines, Inc.

But they said people of Nueva Vizcaya should remain vigilant that the “temporary victory” will produce good results, and make OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. pay for the damage it has caused on the people and the environment in Didipio village, site of its gold-copper project.

“This is a welcome development. After several years of struggle, mass actions, position/petition papers, international study tours whose findings fell on deaf ears—thanks God our prayers have been heard,” said Teresita Acosta, executive director of Friends of the Environment for Development and Sustainability (Frends), a non-government organization.

Frends belongs to an alliance of groups opposed to mining in Nueva Vizcaya, which include civil society, as well as religious and people’s organizations.

Continue reading “FAILURE”


Villagers rebuff mine firm over failed promises

By Melvin Gascon

KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya—Officials and residents of a mining community here on Wednesday confronted a mining company over unfulfilled promises, as it now plans to increase production rate of its gold-copper mining operation in this upland town, some 270 km north of Manila.

In a public meeting, community leaders and villagers took turns in assailing OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. for seeking to amend its existing environmental compliance certificate (ECC) without showing that it has complied with it commitments when it was first granted a mining license in 1994.

“You (Oceanagold) must first inform the people what the original ECC contained and show proof that you have faithfully complied with it, because without that, you should not even be looking to amend it,” village councilor Celia Bahag told OceanaGold representatives.

Villagers have become highly skeptical of the company, council member the official said, because of its failure to honor past commitments, such as the improvement of village roads, and construction of a hospital and a community park.


Continue reading “REPULSED”