By Ruth T. Rodriguez
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, June 28 (PNA) - Outgoing Palawan Governor Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra is proud that during his term as chairperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), no mining application was approved.
PCSD is the institutional machinery that ensures effective and efficient implementation of environment programs in the province,
In his last chaired executive committee meeting of the PCSD on Thursday, Mitra said that even before President Aquino issued Executive Order No. 79 in July 2012, which institutionalized and implemented mining reforms, his chairmanship already shunned receiving applications for Strategic for Environment Plan (SEP) clearances, as well as approving them.
He informed members of non-government organizations (NGOs) observing his executive committee that he denied the approval of applications for SEP clearances of two large mining corporations in Palawan to sustainably preserve, conserve, and protect the environment around the mining claims.
One of these is MacroAsia Corporation, owned by business tycoon Lucio Tan, that has a mining claim in the municipality of Brookes Point in southern Palawan.
Mitra said he hopes that when the new chairman of the PCSD sits in this case newly-elected governor Jose Alvarez he will also keep in mind the welfare of the environment and the people of Palawan who rely on it.
Wala pong SEP clearance na nabigay during our term sa mga new applicants sa mina (No SEP clearance was approved during our term for mining), he said.
In response, lawyer Grizelda Mayo-Anda, who champions the Palawan environment through the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) in the PCSD, said they appreciate the outgoing governors move against the two applications.
She also corrected that not only two mining applications were denied by the members of the PCSD but five: one in Narra, two in Bataraza, and three in Brookes Point, all in southern Palawan.
Mitra said with this, he is happy to leave and remember that during his term, he stood by those who worked hard to protect Palawans environment. (PNA)