N. Vizcaya mine firms slammed anew for human rights abuses
By Melvin C Gascon
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Three foreign mining companies were assailed last week for alleged human rights abuses they continued to commit against residents in their areas of operation, mostly belonging to indigenous communities.
In a privilege speech, Rep. Carlos Padilla detailed the supposed human rights violations committed “with impunity” by OceanaGold Philippines, Inc., FCF Minerals, Inc. and Royalco Resources Ltd., all foreign firms.
He took to task the Aquino government for its alleged failure to look after the welfare of its citizens.
“Continuing research has led me to entertain the idea that the state is not only remiss of its duty to protect human rights. Worse, it allows its agents to be used by these companies to protect private business interest,” Padilla said in his Sept. 9 speech.
Smuggled white sand traced to JPE’s Cagayan resort
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–The truckloads of white beach sand that were seized Thursday in a foiled smuggling attempt in Santa Ana in Cagayan were extracted from a private resort reportedly owned by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, sources said on Tuesday.
The source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the 10 truckloads of white sand came from Enrile’s resort property, which is undergoing development at Gotan beach in San Vicente village.
The white sand was requested by Isabela Gov. Faustino “Bojie” Dy III and was supposed to be delivered to Ilagan City in Isabela for an ongoing project at the provincial capitol grounds.
Smuggling of sand from Cagayan’s ‘Boracay’ bared
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–Authorities on Thursday intercepted ten truckloads of white sand that were extracted from the beaches of Santa Ana town in Cagayan, widely touted as “Boracay of the North”.
Mayor Darwin Tobias said the convoy of 10 dump trucks were stopped by police and environment personnel following a chase at Barangay Racat, about 20 km from the source of their load in San Vicente village.
The drivers failed to show any quarry permit or any written order upon verification and questioning, he said.
‘Labuyo’ hammers N. Vizcaya
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–residents recounted the rude awakening they had on Monday dawn when typhoon “Labuyo” slammed northern Luzon, whopping winds and dousing rains that caused flooding in many areas.
The aftermath of the typhoon saw hundreds of families, especially those in riverside communities, forced out of their houses and scrambling to safer grounds as water rose in the early morning.
Many admitted they were uninformed and ill-prepared.
ROLL CALL. On a roadside shed, village councilwoman Salvacion Orpiano prepares the list of residents in Busilac village in Bayombong town who were displaced by flashfloods on Monday morning, a few hours after the worst of typhoon “Labuyo” was felt in Nueva Vizcaya. Men and children watch the raging waters of Magat river. Photo by Melvin Gascon
Case of illegal Chinese miners marked ‘handle with care’
APARRI, Cagayan—With the tense relationship with China in mind, the government has opted to take it easy on 18 Chinese workers, who were arrested here by National Bureau of Investigation agents last week for alleged illegal mining.
Eva Antiporda, alien control officer of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) here, said her agency has been making a conscious effort not to mishandle the case of the Chinese workers, concerned that a single mistake could further worsen diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China.
“We do not want this already-tense situation to escalate with our improper handling of this sensitive issue,” she said.
Taming the Cagayan River
People in Barangay (village) Catayauan in Lal-lo, Cagayan province, are agitated whenever they hear news of another weather disturbance forecast to hit northern Luzon.
The community of about 30 households that line the thinning patch of land between the national road and the Cagayan River has every reason to worry, as a minor swelling of the river would submerge, or worse, even erode and gobble up the houses.
Now, the river has come even menacingly closer at nearly 3 meters from the nearest house. During a recent typhoon, a mother described how she was traumatized seeing her backyard pigpen being swallowed by the river.
This was not the same landscape they woke up to everyday last year.
THE SUN sets at the Cagayan River in Barangay Catayauan in Lal-lo town, Cagayan province. The river provides irrigation to vast tracts of land and has become a rich source of marine life, making Cagayan Valley the country’s food basket. MELVIN GASCON
Dismissed workers sue N. Vizcaya gov, 19 officials
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya— Employees of the provincial government on Friday sued Gov. Ruth Padilla and 19 other officials for illegally removing them from their positions.
In a petition filed in the Regional Trial Court here, 14 employees asked the court to stop Padilla from implementing Executive Order (EO) No. 3, which revoked the appointments of about 350 employees. The appointments were issued by former Gov. Luisa Cuaresma, who ran and lost for representative against Padilla’s husband, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla.
The employees said Padilla’s order violated their constitutional right that removal from the civil service must only be for cause and carried out with due process.
Aside from the order, they also asked the nullification of the province’s budget ordinance, which slashed funds for the salaries of new appointees and employees promoted from January to June, affecting 180 personnel.