Manila, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) en banc issued a Writ of Kalikasan last Tuesday stopping the leveling of a mountain in Zambales and the building of a seaport to be used in shipping mountain soil rich in chromite and other minerals to China.
The residents earlier complained to Agham party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones and Laguna Rep. Danilo Fernandez, chairman of the committee on ecology of the House of Representatives, prompting the two congressmen to conduct on-site inspection last April.
Upon arriving in the area, the two lawmakers, escorted by policemen armed only by pistols, were confronted by heavily armed men.
After inspecting the area, Fernandez’s panel recommended to Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) against the “irresponsible mining firm.”
Palmones went to the SC to seek a Writ of Kalikasan. He submitted a 12-page petition to the High Court and also attached 60 pages of annexes containing photos of the site before and after the leveling of the mountain, with the soil pushed toward and reclaiming the sea, destroying the corals and natural habitat of the fishes, and affidavits of complaining residents.
Worse, Palmones said, LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. (LAMI) started to flatten a mountain in Barangay Bolitoc, Santa Cruz, Zambales, which serve as natural protective barriers of the residents of the municipality and the residents of some of the adjacent towns of Pangasinan from typhoons and floods.
He said the residents signed a single or common affidavit, lamenting that they were never consulted before LAMI began its operations. They demanded that the natural resources be preserved, restored to its original shape, and protected. (PNA)