The 7th PH-EITI report, industry outlook transparency for oil, gas and mineral resources (Part 1)

by Marcelle P. Villegas - September 01, 2021

The PH-EITI National Conference 2021 was held last July 29 with the theme "Resiliency in Transparency". 

PH-EITI or Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, is a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative that implements EITI. The initiative started on 26 November 2013 under Executive Order No. 147, series of 2013. It is a government commitment first announced through EO No. 79, s. of 2012. The initiative aims to promote the open, accountable management and good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources industries. The three-hour webinar/conference featured various keynote speakers.[1]

“This is the second year that we are holding this meeting online due to the pandemic. This underscores the exceptional circumstance under which we have to operate into the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, I congratulate the EITI for its efforts to organize this national conference and produce an annual report despite all the challenges.” This was part of the Opening Remarks given by Hon. Carlos G. Dominguez, Secretary of Department of Finance.

He defended the importance of the extractive industries like mining despite the common belief of some groups that these are bad for the environment. “By their nature, the extractive industries involve multi-faceted and complex issues. It is easy to merely brand extractive practices as harmful to the environment. Regulations must ensure the balance between economic and environmental concerns to realize the best outcomes for our people.”

Sec. Dominguez explained that EITI helps in achieving that balance by providing fair and accurate data about the extractive industries by describing it as a credible source of information to aid policymakers on the proper fiscal regime for mining.

“…EITI enables the productive exchange of information and positive dialogue among stakeholders. This clears the air of misinformation… The most important value we need to uphold at all times is transparency. Without this, there will be constant suspicion and all sorts of unfounded claims… Increased accountability will improve governance of the sector and management of natural resources.”

Sec. Dominguez mentioned that data transparency not only builds public trust but also brings institutional and sectoral resilience. Such resilience leads to better coordination, appropriate interventions and greater agility in times of crises.

Other speakers in the forum include Hon. Jose "Joey" Salceda who gave a Keynote Speech. He is the Representative of Second District of Albay and Chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means.

“Key findings of the Seventh PH-EITI Report” was discussed by Hon. Bayani H. Agabin, who is the Undersecretary of Department of Finance and Chair of Philippine EITI.

“Industry Outlook” was reported by Hon. Ma. Teresa S. Habitan. She is the Assistant Secretary of Department of Finance and the Alternate Chair of Philippine EITI.

The Executive Director of Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Atty Ronald Recidoro, reported “The Social Development and Management Program”.

“The National Wealth Shares Portal” was the topic of Mr Rainier H. Diaz, Chief Budget and Management Specialist of the Department of Budget.

“Mainstream Action Plan” was reported by Mr Vincent T. Lazatin, National Coordinator, Bantay Kita - Publish What You Pay Philippines.

“The PH-EITI work plan and progress of EITI implementation” was discussed by Eastwood D. Manlises, National Coordinator, Philippine EITI.

Finally, the closing remarks was delivered by Hon. Dakila Carlo Cua, Governor, Provincial Government of Quirino, and President, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

The event was hosted by Triciah Terada.

 

Executive Summary and Overview of the 7th PH-EITI Report

The Seventh PH-EITI Report covers data from fiscal year 2019 and the early part of 2020. The goals of the report are the following:

1. Show direct and indirect contribution of extractives to the economy (through EITI process);

2. Improve public understanding of the management of natural resources and availability of data;

3. Strengthen national resource management / strengthen government systems;

4. Create opportunities for dialogue and constructive engagement in natural resource management in order to build trust and reduce conflict among stakeholders; and​

5. Pursue and strengthen the extractive sector’s contribution to sustainable development.

As an outlook, the Philippines started to implement the EITI for eight years from its membership. Of note, the Philippines was the first to successfully obtain a Satisfactory Progress assessment in 2017. Since 2013, the PH-EITI has been publishing reports yearly. [2]

From their outlook report, they mentioned that 2019 is a notable for the Mining and Quarrying (MAQ) Industry for two reasons.

1. The industry’s share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased by PHP1.7 billion to 0.83% due largely to several mines closing. This was despite the fact that the Philippines’ GDP increased by PHP1.3 trillion.

Analysis: As presented in Chart 1 in line with the rest of the data from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), the average annual growth rate (AAGR) of the country’s GDP from 2013 was 8.4%, and it was consistently increasing every year with 2018 being the highest at 10%. Even so, year-on-year (YOY) growth in MAQ was fluctuating; falling in 2015 to -17%, and eventually peaking in 2017 at 18%. Much of the reason for this fluctuation is the stifling regulation of the extractive industry. As a matter of fact, the substantial drop after 2014 was attributable to “The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which stipulates that the state owns all mineral resources on public and private lands within the territory and exclusive economic zones of the country. In effect, the act regulated the Philippines’ mineral resource development eventually deliberalizing it. [3]

2. The second reason is due to the sudden surge of COVID-19 which affected the industry. This was first identified in Wuhan, China in the latter part of 2019. At first, the new disease was not previously seen as a global threat. It was only the following year when the global health emergency began. In the Philippines, the disease led to the implementation of official lockdown in most parts of the country on 17 March 2020.

 

More on the Extractive Industry

The first chapter of the Seventh Report detailed the top contributors of the extractive industry by region. Its total value addition in 2019 was PHP162 billion. As per Chart 2 with raw values from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the mining sector had the highest gross share, making up almost two-thirds of it. This was followed by oil and gas at 24%, and coal at 14%.

Mining and Quarrying (MAQ) companies contributed much in the nation’s employment rate. They have around 210,961 workers in July 2019.[3]

The report also pointed out that mineral products and non-metallic mineral manufactures comprised 6.6% of total exported commodities which were valued at USD4.9 million. “As far as government revenues from these sectors were concerned, it is worth reiterating that it contributed more than a quarter billion PHP in the form of national and local taxes, fees, and royalties.”

According to Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), there were 50 metallic mines in operation; 10 of which extracted gold, 3 copper, 31 nickel, 3 chromite, and 3 iron. And as per PSA, metallic mining had the biggest contribution to Gross Value Added (GVA) of the MAQ industry at 35%. It also had the greatest gross share in the production value of mining at a little less than 67%.

The Philippines, therefore, has more metals in its production of these commodities.

As for Non-metallic mining, there were more in operation in the same period at 53, 28 are limestone/shale quarries, 3 marble/marblelized limestone, 2 silica, 13 aggregate, 1 dolomite, 3 clay, 1 sand and gravel, 1 volcanic tuff, and 1 greywacke/pozzolan. “With respect to its share in MAQ’s GVA, it stood at a little more than 31%. As a proportion of the mining sector’s volume of gross production, non-metallic mining’s was 33% which, in absolute terms, was almost half of that of metallic mines.”[3]

For oil and gas, covering the fiscal year 2019, Department of Energy (DOE) reported the oil production in the Philippines was all sourced from Galoc, Nido, Matinloc, and Alegria. The report stated that Galoc was the most prolific among the others, comprising 96% of the total extracted at 744,449 barrels. Nido was second at 20,634; then Alegria at 9,468; and Matinloc at 1,542.

According to the report, “…the output from the Malampaya field was not as significant in comparison with these oil fields. Conforming to PH-EITI37, the petroleum service contract operators that voluntarily report to the organization are The Philodrill Corporation, Galoc Production Company WLL, the state-owned PNOC Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX), and China International Mining Petroleum Company Ltd.” 

(to be continued)

-----

Reference:

[1] https://pheiti.dof.gov.ph/natcon2021/

[2] https://pheiti.dof.gov.ph/download/7th-report-contextual-info-chapter/?wpdmdl=2439

[3] https://pheiti.dof.gov.ph/download/7th-report-industry-outlook-chapter-2/?wpdmdl=2440



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Commentary

Patricia A. O. Bunye - June 29, 2021

What does "going back to work" look like in Mining?

In Issue 4 of Philippine Resources, I recapped how much of my 2020 was spent on Zoom calls and webinars.  A year and a half into the pandemic, and after 15 months of working from home, the situation has not changed, and it looks like this will be our way of life for some time to come. Major online events were conducted recently by the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). First was the Consultative Meeting on May 19 on the Implementing Rules and Regulations on Executive Order No. 130, with Day 1 being attended by mining companies and Day 2 by NGOs and the academe.  Second was the MGB’s Stakeholders’ Forum on Recent Policy Issuances Relating to Mining, also held over two days on June 8 and 9. The introduction to the Consultative Meeting was an opportunity to review the issuances of the DENR and MGB from 2015 to 2020, the more significant of which were discussed in greater detail in the MGB’s Stakeholders’ Forum. In the open forum that followed the Consultative Meeting, MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano confirmed that, although EO 130 does not explicitly refer to the lifting of the ban on open pit mining, the intent is to lift it since Section 11 or the repealing clause of the its proposed IRR explicitly refers to Department Administrative Order 2017-10 on the ban on open pit mining. The MGB’s Stakeholders’ Forum offered a deeper dive into the following issuances, with the formal presentations being followed by Q&As with the participants both on Zoom and Facebook: Mining Tenements: MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2019-001 (Clarificatory Guidelines on the Industrial Sand and Gravel Permit) MGB Memorandum Circular No. 19-08 (Clarification on the Definition of the Open Pit Mining Method as per DAO No. 2017-10 and other Surface Mining Methods) MGB Memorandum Circular No. 20-010 (Harmonizing the Mining Production Capacity Threshold or Limit of a Mining Permit/Contract and the Pertinent Environmental Compliance Certificate) DENR Administrative Order (Guidelines on the Automatic Renewal of the Exploration Period and the Timely Declaration of the Mining Project Feasibility under the EP, MPSA, FTAA, and Similar Mining Tenements) [For Publication, as this column was being written] Environmental Protection MGB Memorandum Order No. 20-01: Care and Maintenance Program for Mining Projects MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2020-04 (Clarificatory Guidelines for the Establishment of the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund for Dredging Projects/Activities pursuant to DPWH-DENR-DILG-DOTR Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2019) Online Filings Memorandum Order No. 2020-007 (Policy on Online Filing of Application and Payment) Enforcement MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2019-002 (Supplemental Guidelines to MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01) MGB Memorandum No. 2018-01 (Guidelines in the Conduct of Apprehension, Seizure, Confiscation and Disposition of illegally sourced minerals/mineral products and by-products, tools, conveyances and equipment used) Appeals MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2019-006 (Clarificatory Guidelines on the Rules of Appeal) Dredging & Offshore Mining MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2019-07 (Clarificatory Guidelines on Section 5.1.2.c of DPWH-DENR-DILG-DOTr JMC No. 2019-01) MGB Memorandum Circular No. 2020-008 (Revised Guidelines on Offshore Mining - Revision to MGB Memorandum Circular 2016-05 "Guidelines on Offshore Mining") While the aforementioned webinars with the DENR/MGB are illustrative of government’s engagement and cooperation with its stakeholders, on the same day, June 9, in another time zone, the World Association of Mining Lawyers (WAOML) was conducting a webinar on the international arbitration of mining disputes against governments. The global panel described an upward trend in mining arbitration against governments and government entities, i.e., since 1990, there have been around 100 recorded mining arbitration cases against governments, 73 of which have been brought in the last 10 years.  Within the last few days before the WAOML webinar, 4 new ones were brought against the governments of Colombia, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Turkey. International arbitration against governments are usually resorted to when mining projects, which are typically long-term and complex, and depend on a stable legal, fiscal and political environment, experience major shifts such as resource nationalism, and/or unexpected changes in financial/tax/royalty regimes. in 40% of the cases that have been brought, the mine could not start operating, and there was government action or inaction that led to the investment dispute.  in more than half of the cases, the projects were operating, but the mine had to close down, because the license was not renewed or the investor lost control because of an expropriation. Interestingly, Latin America leads the way with the most number of international mining arbitration cases filed, with Asia and Africa following. From the perspective of the mining companies that file the cases, international arbitration is just one tool in their arsenal, and often it is, as expressed by one speaker, an ‘absolute last resort’ because, once the arbitration is instituted, it will inevitably lead to the breakdown of the relationships that have been built.  It will also take time and resources to complete, and even assuming that the company obtains the desired award, it still needs to have the award enforced. On the lighter and brighter side, the International Women in Mining (WIM) Alliance, which I have written about previously, recently held the first of new series of global calls via Zoom which was attended by the counterpart organizations of Diwata-Women in Resource Development from just about every corner of the globe.  It was gratifying to hear how diverse yet similar our experiences are, and how much common ground there is for us to start from.  This significant as the Alliance is about aligning the interests of these international women’s mining groups through multilateral, mutually beneficial relationships and leveraging their collective strength to pursue a common agenda, without integration, control or affiliation.  For me, the fact that, through technology, it is so much easier now to reach out to other ‘sisters  in mining’ is a plus in itself.  Pre-pandemic, it would have taken attendance in an international conference to meet even a quarter of this group. With technology allowing me to be as, if not more, productive, than being at my office, am I looking forward to going back? Even with more people being vaccinated, the discussion is less about ‘going back to work’ than what ‘going back to work’ will look like, i.e., how to implement a hybrid workplace.  For the mining industry, which certainly is not predominated by desk-bound jobs, there is already a trend worldwide to see how certain repetitive tasks can be automated versus those which need analytical skills, and therefore a demand for individuals with such capabilities.  Part of this shift is for artificial intelligence, machine learning and process-automation experts to oversee new ways of working.  In this regard, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report identifies leadership and social influence as a main focus of mining companies’ reskilling or upskilling programs.  In any industry, empathy is vital to mitigating the potential negative impact of remote working on mental health, and managers need superior communication skills to manage isolated teams.  Thoughts to further ponder on in a future column!

Mining

Philippine Resources - September 07, 2021

METALLIC PRODUCTION VALUE ADVANCES BY 24.50% IN H1 2021

 Metallic mineral production value advanced by 24.50% or PHP13.50 billion in H1 2021 from PhP55.13 billion to PhP68.63 billion, year-on-year. The telling factor for this sterling performance was the continued strong metal prices during the period. Prices of base metals, copper, and nickel grew by 65% and 40%, respectively. Likewise precious metals, gold, and silver went up by 10% and 59%, respectively. In terms of contribution to the metallic production value, nickel together with its nickel products accounted for 53.44% or PhP36.68 billion followed by gold with 34.84% or PhP23.91 billion. Copper took the third spot at PhP7.46 billion or 10.87% while the collective values of silver, iron ore, and chromite were less than 1% or PhP0.58 billion. Having bullish nickel metal price as its backdrop in H1 2021 nickel together with its nickel products continued to rule the production scene contributing more than 53% of the country’s production value from PhP25.17 billion to PhP36.68 billion year-on-year, a growth of almost PhP11.51 billion or 46%. Breaking it down further, nickel direct shipping ore accounted for 58% or PhP21.42 billion while mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide tendered 41% or PhP15.07 billion. Scandium oxalate came up with less than 1% or PhP0.19 billion. Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL) produces both mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide and scandium oxalate. While Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) only produces mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide. Nickel ore production volume and value went up by 39% and 98% from 109,471 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP10.79 billion to 151,646 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP21.42 billion. Prices of nickel are at their sweetest at US$17,490.15 per metric ton from US$12,473.17 per metric ton, year-on-year, a considerable price difference of US$5,017 per metric ton. The top three producers for the first half were Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) with 28,935 metric tons followed by Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) with 25,301 metric tons; and Platinum Group Metals Corporation with 12,977 metric tons. TMC and RTNMC supply all the low-grade limonite ore feed requirements of THPAL and CBNC plants, respectively. The limonite ores delivered to THPAL and CBNC were included in the total ore production of TMC and RTNMC. In terms of production by Province, Surigao del Norte led with 51,162 metric tons, followed by Palawan with 39,190 metric tons, Surigao del Sur took the third spot with 21,060 metric tons. While Zambales accounted for 16,757 metric tons closely followed by Agusan del Norte with 16,530 metric tons and Dinagat Island with 6,946 metric tons. Out of the 28 listed operating nickel projects, only 19 reported productions, nine or 32% were with zero production. Production volume and value of the yellow metal was up by 3% and 8% from 8,257 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP22.15 billion to 8,545 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP23.91 billion. The top three seeds were Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corporation (PGPRC) in Masbate with 3,558 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP9.98 billion followed by Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corporation in Agusan del Sur with 1,268 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP3.55 billion and FCF Minerals in Nueva Vizcaya with 1,090 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP3.05 billion. The price of gold was impressive at US$1,808.59 per troy ounce in contrast with last year’s H1 average price of US$1,647.59 per troy ounce, up by US$161 per troy ounce. Conversely, the performance of the red metal was diverse with copper production volume going down from 31,030 metric tons to 23,557 metric tons year-on-year, a difference of 24%. The production value, however, grew by 4% from PhP7.19 billion to PhP7.46 billion. The PhP0.27 billion surge was courtesy of the upbeat price of copper during the period from US$5,496.36 per metric ton in 2020 to US$9,094.61 per metric ton in 2021, a substantial US$3,598 increase. The positive price was partly due to supply disruptions in major producing countries like Peru and Chile. Currently, the country has only two copper producers, Carmen Copper Corporation in Cebu accounted for 75% or 17,568 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP4.77 billion while Philex Mining Corporation in Benguet accounted for 25% or 5,989 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP2.69 billion. For silver, production volume decline by 6% or 723 kilograms from 11,793 kilograms to 11,069 kilograms year-on-year. Production value, though, grew by 46% or PhP0.14 billion from PhP0.31 billion to PhP0.45 billion year-on-year. Apex Mining Company, Inc. in Davao de Oro retains its dominance accounting for 47% or 5,164 kilograms while in far second was PGPRC in Masbate with 20% or 2,189 kilograms. During the period, eight mining projects recorded silver production. More than the robust metal price, recent developments in the local minerals industry are anticipated to be game-changers in the overall performance of the industry in the coming years not only in terms of mine ore production but also in its economic contribution. By this we mean employment generation, increase revenue collection both at the local and national level, and improved quality of life of the host and neighboring communities. Latest developments include the re-entry of Didipio Copper-Gold Project of OceanaGold (Phils) Inc. (OGPI) in Nueva Vizcaya to the production stream; and the issuance of Executive Order (E0) No. 130 and together with its Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR). The renewal of the application of OGPI was approved last 14 July 2021. This is projected to boost/augment local copper, gold, and silver mine production. It is worth noting that from 2014-2018, the annual production average of the Project for gold was 4,191 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP7.95 billion while for copper about 20,493 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP5.83 billion. More or less this was the foregone production volume and value in CY 2020 when OGPI recorded no production while awaiting the renewal of its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement. Consequently, forgone production meant lower or no revenue collection by the national and local government during the period. In addition, this also resulted in fewer economic activities in the host and neighboring communities. Another positive development is the issuance of EO No. 130 together with its IRR. This EO amended Section 4 of EO No. 79 of 2012 wherein the Government may now enter into new mineral agreements, subject to compliance with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations. It is notable that of the 30 million total land area of the Philippines, the data of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau shows that only about 2.55% or 763,899.7538 hectares is covered by mining tenements and said the area is still subject to the mandatory relinquishment by contractors provided by law. Breaking it down further, of the 9 million hectares identified as having high mineral potential only 8.49% is covered by mining tenement. This significantly means that 91.51% of the land area identified with high mineral potential remains to be untapped. On the international scene, a lot of things are going on that may affect the growth of the local minerals industry. The COVID-19 pandemic is still very much on the scene affecting mining operations worldwide, even major players were not spared. While it is true that at a certain point the disruption in mining operations has pushed metal prices to impressive heights as a result of lower production vis-à-vis increasing demand. The unrelenting COVID-19 virus which put the health of people still at risk despite the availability of vaccines has now curtailed economic activities worldwide. Reduced economic activities would mean the demand for industrial metals like copper, iron ore, nickel, and among others being utilized by the steel, construction and other downstream industries to decline. Mineral analysts are also projecting, demand cutback from China, for this metals. China is the country’s major trading partner when it comes to its mineral ores. On the other hand, still on the growing concerns of the COVID-19 virus gold price is still expected to be strong given its safe-haven appeal to investors during these uncertain times.

Mining

Marcelle P. Villegas - March 17, 2021

The Aftermath of the Carmen Copper Mine Landslide

After the tragic landslide that occurred at the open pit’s north wall at around 4:15 p.m. on Monday, 21 Dec. 2020,  Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 ordered the immediate suspension of the mine operations in Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC). According to MGB’s report last 22 Dec. 2020 on their official website, they stated “Initial investigations revealed there was no mining activity in the area on that day.” [1] On that day, landslide debris fell on the water at the pit bottom. This has an elevation of 41m above sea level. The landslide created a tsunami-like wave that reached an elevation of 105m in the southern portion of the pit where the workers were located. On 22 Dec. 2020, four fatalities were recorded along with six missing. [1] Further on, an assessment of the area was conducted by Director Pacquito Melicor Jr. (DENR Central Visayas Regional Executive Director), Director Armando Malicse (MGB 7 Regional Director), MGB Region 7 team, and Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division. CCC and Toledo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management team continued their search and retrieval operations on a limited scale due to unstable condition. MGB 7 technical personnel continues its on-site inspection and investigation in accordance with R.A. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act of 1995) and the DENR Administrative Order Nos. 2010-21 (Consolidated IRR of RA 7942) and 2000-98 (Mine Safety and Health Standards). [1] A list of names of workers who died was given by CCC to the Toledo Police Station Chief, Lt. Col. Junnel Caadlawon. The second list contains the names of those who are still missing. [2] Those who died from the landslide are the following: Junil S. Lagola, age 44, from Barangay Don Andres Soriano, leadman Ernesto G. Caspe, age 54, from Dasmamac, Lutopan, checker Juan M. Tapang, age 44, from Don Andres Soriano Village, heavy equipment operator Dionisio Labang, from barangay Uling, Naga, backhoe operator/Anseca Contractor Those who are still missing are the following: Jose B. Carpentero, age 31, from Barangay Biga, heavy equipment operator from Mine Services Department Jonwel S. Herediano, age 33, from Barangay Don Andres Soriano, pump operator Simeon B. Laconas, age 33, from Barangay Biga, leadman - mine services department John Paul L. Resuelo, age 27, from Barangay Biga, heavy equipment operator Renante F. Sepada, age 35, from Barangay Bagakay, pump operator Alfred C. Tautho, age 33, from Barangay Mainggit, welder Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC) expressed their support and commitment to provide free education until college and allowances to all the children of its employees who died or are still missing after the tragedy last December. Based on a press statement of the company last 27 Dec. 2020, they have provided various forms of financial and other assistance to the immediate families of its deceased workers. [3] Additionally, CCC also offered employment opportunities for the victims’ next of kin, spouse and children. “CCC has given the same attention to the immediate family of the missing CCC employees and will afford them of the same commitments CCC provided to the family of the deceased,” according to the company’s statement. CCC also extended support to the family of the contractor who was among the victims. [3] On 8 Feb. 2021, Toledo City Mayor, Hon. Marjorie Piczon-Perales along with Vice-Mayor Jay B. Go met the families of the victims at the open shed of the City Hall Garden to provide them with “ayuda” or financial assistance. This was posted on the Toledo City Public Information Office social media page. The mayor granted the families of deceased workers the amount of Php15 million. For the victims who are injured, they were given Php5 million. Additionally, they were all given food packs. [4] On 29 Jan. 2021, the Office of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go distributed assistance to the Toledo City residents who were affected by the landslide in CCC mine. This was held at the Carmen Copper Recreation Center, Toledo City, Cebu. During the distribution, 248 families received meals, financial assistance, food packs, vitamins, face masks and face shields. Senator Go also gave bicycles and shoes to selected recipients, and computer tablets for their children to be used for online classes. Health and safety protocols were strictly implemented to avoid the further spread of COVID-19. The Senator was not present during the distribution but he sent them a video message with words of encouragement. [5] Senator Go also offered assistance to those who needed major medical operations such as heart surgeries. He urged those in need of such medical attention to seek assistance from any of the Malasakit Centers in the province. [5] While the local and national government along with CCC are busy sending assistance to the families of the victims of the December landslide, mining industry in general received backlashes from various groups who believe that the deaths and injuries could have been prevented. Barely a month before the landslide, there had been reports from residents of Barangay Biga in Toledo City who claim they warned officials of the MGB Central Visayas and CCC as well about large cracks in the village prior to the landslide. However, they said that their appeal was not properly addressed. [6] Biga Barangay Captian Pedro Sepada Jr. told a local newspaper in Cebu last 29 Dec. 2020 that prior to the landslide, barangay officials called for an emergency consultative meeting on 26 Nov. 2020 with representatives of CCC, MGB 7 and Biga residents to talk about the possible measures to be done after the cracks were discovered. Sepada said that MGB 7 Director Armando Malicse and CCC Vice President for Safety, Ignas Alburo were present. No representative from the Toledo City government was present. Sepada noted that during the meeting, they were not given a concrete response or alternative solution by CCC or MGB to provide assurance to the residents that they will all be safe while mining operations are ongoing. But Sepada said that they were simply told by MGB 7 and CCC officials that their place remained safe. [6] According to the local news reports in Toledo City, residents now believe the huge cracks caused the fatal landslide.      “It was only after the landslide last Dec. 21, that they declared our area to be unsafe within a radius of 600-meter distance from the pipeline of Carmen Copper. They now say it’s unsafe. What happened to their guarantee of safety before?” [6] Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said last December that they shall leave the investigation to MGB before implementing any course of action. She mentioned that she will leave it up to the MGB 7 to decide whether or not CCC has any liability.  Garcia said, “The investigation is not our expertise nor is that our mandate. MGB has already issued a suspension of operations and MGB is going to undertake the investigation. So let’s put things in proper perspective. While the investigation is ongoing, perhaps it is best to wait for the results.” [6] “I am not taking any sides. I want to be as objective as possible. However, there are some personalities who are not as objective because they have their own interest in Carmen Copper. They want to control so that they can do business with Carmen Copper. This is a warning to those who want to make it difficult.” Garcia also noted that CCC mining operations have given so much to Toledo City in terms of employment and the city’s development. She said that a thorough investigation is needed in order to prevent those with “personal interest” in the mining operations of CCC from ruining the lives of so many people working there. [6] Garcia assured the Province will provide assistance and support to the families of miners who died and those who remain missing after the landslide. [6] Renester P. Suraltra, a college professor wrote a commentary last December on SunStar Cebu with the title “Toledo tragedy: The untold story”. He wrote, “Who is always responsible for any mining accident? Is it nature or man? Who is at fault? Is it the bad weather or the safety engineer?” “Accidents may happen in the workplace but it can also be avoided. We can’t discount the fact that accidents can happen because of unsafe supervision, lack of situation awareness, and failure to identify the potential threat. That’s the job of the safety engineer under the direction and supervision of sympathetic and responsible management. If workers are dying frequently then responsible mining is a big issue.” “There is another lesson to be learned in the Toledo mining tragedy. We should never compromise safety and security. We can’t always blame nature out of man’s folly. One should think that the mining industry provides short-term revenue but long-term harmful effect on nature and the environment. Life is much precious than copper and gold.” [7] Acknowledgement: Ryan Peter Vivo Penaranda for Cebuano to English translation from some news articles   Reference: [1] Mines and Geosciences Bureau Press Release (22 Dec. 2020)."Carmen Copper Mine In-Pit Landslide Incident". [2] ANV (23 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Listahan sa namatay, missing sa Carmen pit gipagawas". [3] WBS and PR (27 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Carmen Copper Corp. commits to help landslide victims' families".  [4] Toledo City Public Information Office Facebook Page (8 Feb. 2021). "Families of the victims of the land in Biga Pit Gitagaan ug ayuda in Toledo". [5] Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Facebook Page (31 Jan. 2021). "Hundreds of Toledo City, Cebu residents affected by a copper mine landslide receive assistance from Senator Bong Go". [6] Sabalo, Wenilyn (30 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Biga chief claims please ignored before landslide". Retrieved from - https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1881418/Cebu/Local-News/Biga-chief-claims-pleas-ignored-before-landslide [7] Suralta, Renester P. (27 Dec. 2020). SunStar Cebu. "Tell it to SunStar: Toledo tragedy: The untold story". Retrieved from - https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1881194


Recent Articles

Construction

Philippine Resources - September 24, 2021

DOTr, Pasay City sign deal for monorail, flyover extension

Residents and those working in Pasay City will soon enjoy easier public transportation after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the city government signed a deal for the construction of a monorail and extension of the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa)-Tramo flyover. In a live broadcast on Facebook on Wednesday, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the proposed Integrated Pasay Monorail and Edsa-Tramo flyover extension project. Tugade said the project will be interoperable with the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the Edsa Busway, and the Edsa Greenways. “[Ito ay] makapagbibigay ng mas mabilis at episyenteng biyahe sa mga pasahero. Magiging mas madali na rin ang access patungong central business district (CBD) ng Pasay (This will provide fast and efficient travel to passengers. Access to Pasay CBD will also be easier),” Tugade said. Aside from its benefits to commuters, he said the project will also create jobs. “Ang paulit-ulit kong sinasabi na karugtong ng mga proyekto para sa kaunlaran ay trabaho para sa Pilipino (What I have always been saying is that development projects go hand-in-hand with jobs for Filipinos),” Tugade said. He said the project is a partnership between the DOTr, Pasay City government, and SM Prime Holdings. “Makakaasa 'ho kayong magpapatuloy ang DOTr sa pagsusulong ng mga proyekto para sa ikauunlad ng pampublikong transportasyon sa bansa (You can be rest assured that the DOTr will continue to promote projects for the development of public transportation in the country),” Tugade said. The MOA signing was witnessed by Pasay City Vice Mayor Noel del Rosario, DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Giovanni Lopez, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Reinier Paul Yebra, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, SM Prime Holdings President Jeffrey Lim, and other representatives from the Pasay City government and the private sector. On Sept. 7, the Pasay City government and the SM Prime Holdings made a joint presentation on the project to the DOTr. By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Construction

Philippine Resources - September 24, 2021

DOTr eyes GenSan airport as alternate int'l gateway

Photo credit: Department of Transportation The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is pushing for the inclusion of the newly rehabilitated and expanded airport here as among the alternate gateways for returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and international travelers. DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade proposed the move on Thursday as he personally led the formal unveiling and inauguration of the city airport’s new passenger terminal building and other completed facilities. He said the city’s international standard airport can accommodate airline passengers coming in from as far as the Middle East. Tugade said it can be realized once the proposed increase in the daily cap for returning OFWs, currently at 2,000 for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), is approved. Once the cap is expanded, he said NAIA might “choke” with the influx of airline passengers from various countries. “If we will increase the cap, we need to expand our gateways and not limit them to Clark, Cebu, and NAIA. We can include GenSan among the gateways for travelers from Doha who are going to Manila,” he said in a press conference. He said they will propose such strategy with the airlines serving the international routes, including the Philippine Airlines, and seek the approval of the city government. The other possible alternate gateways could be the Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Tugade said. The rehabilitated and expanded General Santos Airport passenger terminal building, which was completed early this month, is part of the PHP959-million upgrade implemented by the national government. The other completed components are the procurement and installation of navigational aids and the construction of the new Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) administration building at the airport. Under the project, Tugade said the passenger terminal area has tripled in size from 4,000 to 12,000 square meters. “This will allow the airport to accommodate more passengers and provide them comfortable and convenient travel,” he said in his speech. A DOTr report said the larger passenger terminal building can now accommodate around 2 million passengers annually, a significant jump from the previous 800,000 per year. Tugade said the improvement at the city airport will continue next year with the upgrading of its air control tower, which he considered as “too low.” He said they will build a “higher and modernized” tower in 2022 to make it “more world-class” and can easily adjust to the needs of the airport. The official said the upgrading of the airport, which started in 2018, is among the agency and the national government’s top priorities in Mindanao. He said the initiative is part of the government’s efforts to bring more progress and economic opportunities in Mindanao, which “suffered from long years of neglect in terms of development.” Tugade said they endeavored to implement these projects despite the challenges posed by the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic to pursue their goal of giving a “comfortable and convenient life” to Filipinos. “After the pandemic, we want all these developments in place and ready to benefit the people,” he said. In a video message, President Rodrigo Duterte commended the DOTr, the local government, and concerned stakeholders for completing the projects at the city airport amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the city has “gone a long way” in terms of the development of its air connectivity and airport facilities. “The rehabilitation and expansion of the airport passenger terminal building, among others, will truly boost General Santos City’s role as an agro-industrial and eco-tourism hub,” the President said. City Mayor Ronnel Rivera lauded the national government for helping the city realize its dream of having an international-standard airport. Aside from the expanded passenger terminal building, the airport is now capable of accommodating bigger aircraft like Boeing 737 and 747, as well as Airbus A330, A340, and A350. “(What) we are seeing now is a result of multisectoral commitment and dedication in various stages of the airport development, which includes coordination of several initiatives, preparation of the airport master plan, operations, and marketing,” he said. The mayor said the local government will continue to engage with prospective investors and airlines for the opening of more flights to and from the airport and the development of adjacent areas. He cited the proposed establishment of an aerotropolis or growth area centered on the city airport and its surrounding areas. “We are opening a wide array of opportunities, not only on the improvement of our infrastructure facilities but also in terms of investments that will generate more economic opportunities for the city and the entire region (Soccsksargen),” he said. Aside from the inauguration of the airport projects, Tugade also led the unveiling of completed initiatives at the Makar port here. The DOTr said it includes the construction of the Port Operations Building and other vital facilities, which includes a parking area, covered court, port manager’s quarter or Day Care Center, and drainage system. “The improved port of Makar will now offer safer, comfortable, and a more convenient port experience to passengers, while ensuring a faster turnaround for vessels, cargo trucks, and other ancillary service providers,” it said.   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Construction

Philippine Resources - September 22, 2021

Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway 83% Complete

Photo credit: Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway As of August 31, 2021, the construction progress of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) project was at 83.84 percent. The P30-billion toll bridge, which will be substantially completed by the end of 2021, will use a full electronic toll system when it opens to motorists in the first quarter of 2022 to enable faster traffic flow and seamless travel. The project recently marked a milestone with the completion of the installation of all 56 stay cables that hold the main bridge deck. On September 11, the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), through its contractor, installed the last and longest stay cable, which is 219 meters long. The gap on the main bridge, on the other hand, is now down to only two meters before span closure and preparations are underway for the lowering of the form travelers. These form travelers, which weigh 500 tons in each tower, were used to construct the main bridge’s pier table and deck. Also, all 434 NU (Nebraska University) girders for the entire project have already been installed. With this, the mobile launching gantry used to install the girders have been demobilized. At the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) on ramp and off ramp sections of CCLEX, construction of its substructures is complete. Ongoing works are now on the installation of precast planks and the concreting of deck slab. Also finished is the 200-meter pedestrian footbridge beside the CSCR with all six prefabricated steel walkways already installed. The footbridge will start near the U-turn slot of the South Road Properties’ welcome tower and will connect to the on-ramp sidewalk of CCLEX. At the Cebu viaduct, the construction of deck slab is ongoing. The Cordova viaduct, on the other hand, is now structurally complete with its substructure already done. Installation of handrails are underway. At the causeway, embankment works continue to progress with the placing of 20 vent pipes, which equalize the flow of seawater along the Cordova Channel, is finished. Also structurally complete are the four low-level bridges along the causeway, which will provide fishermen continued access to their fishing grounds. Aside from these, works are ongoing for the toll plaza and the CCLEX Operations and Maintenance Center. CCLEX, highlighted by its iconic crosses on top of the twin pylons of the cable-stayed main bridge over the Mactan Channel, is Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation’s (MPTC) first toll road project outside Luzon. CCLEX, which will be the third link to Mactan Island from Cordova Municipality to mainland Cebu through Cebu City’s South Road Properties, has a design speed of 80 kilometers per hour (kph) and a navigational clearance or height of 51 meters to allow large vessels to pass underneath the bridge. Not only is CCLEX seen to reduce traffic and make traveling more convenient but also spur trade activities and open greater economic opportunities for Cebu and the rest of the Visayas region. CCLEX is a project of Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), in partnership with the local government units of Cebu City and Municipality of Cordova. CCLEC is a wholly owned subsidiary of MPTC, the toll road arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), a publicly listed infrastructure holding company and a member of the MVP Group of Companies. MPTC is the largest toll road concessionaire and operator in the Philippines, which expansion goals include establishing toll operations in the Visayas, other parts of the Philippines, and in neighboring countries notably Vietnam, and Indonesia.   Article courtesy of Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway

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