The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO) to Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) for operating without an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
An order dated July 21 from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) said the company “has been continuously implementing its project without a valid ECC.”
INC’s ECC was canceled last December by then Environment Secretary Regina Lopez after its failure to start its project within the required five-year period from the issuance of the permit.
An inspection conducted by the EMB, representatives from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), civil organizations and the local government showed that the company constructed a mine yard within its mining area despite the order.
It also noted that INC’s activities were causing the “release of pollutants brought about by the silt deposition from the road, thus placing the environment at risk and imminent danger.”
DENR Mimaropa Regionals Director Natividad Bernardino issued a warning that “any further actions by the INC may be dealt with by law,” after receiving reports that the firm was building structures in Barangay Maasin and Ipilan.
Three days after, DENR-attached agency Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) also revoked the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance issued to INC, saying that no clearance should have been issued to the firm in the first place since the areas where it operated were considered “areas of maximum protection.”
President of affiliate company Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. Dante Bravo said in a phone interview with the Inquirer that these allegations were “baseless,” adding that the motion for reconsideration (MFR) for the canceled ECC was still pending.
“It (EMB) issued such CDO on the basis of the alleged cancellation of the ECC of Ipilan, which is subject of a pending Motion for Reconsideration. So, the ECC still stands,” Bravo claimed.
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