PPA says port built by a mining firm in Sibuyan Island illegal, no clearance yet to operate

The Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC) will not be given the clearance to operate the port it constructed in Sibuyan Island in Romblon, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) disclosed on Thursday, Feb. 9.

The reason, according to PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago, is that the mining firm constructed the port without securing the necessary permits first from the local government unit, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the PPA.

"They will not be given any permit for any port site operation because their facilities are illegal and unregistered," said Santiago.

The port constructed in Sibuyan Island is supposed to be used as a facility to transport the ore being mined in the island.

Based on the requirements needed to construct a port, Santiago said the APMC should have applied for a permit to develop and construct a port to the PPA, part of the application is for the mining firm to secure clearance from the LGU, the DENR, and the submission of foreshore lease.

And when he checked on the status of the application, Santiago said the APMC did not submit any requirement except for the letter of intent it submitted to the Port of Batangas which has jurisdiction over the area.

"Based on the documentation at the PPA Batangas, they have not yet submitted the needed requirements," said Santiago.

In a statement, the DENR said it has already issued a Cease and Desist Order against the construction and operation of its causeway in Sitio Bato, Brgy. España, San Fernando, Romblon on Feb. 6.

“It also ordered the DENR Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in the Province of Romblon to file appropriate legal actions against APMC if warranted, on the reported cutting of trees without permit and to conduct an investigation on the alleged damage to sea grass and other marine resources as a result of the construction of the causeway project,” the statement read.

Other instructions from the DENR include the denial of the APMC’s application for Miscellaneous Lease Agreement for alleged violation of the Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, or the Public Land Act, and its related issuances; filing of appropriate charges for illegal cutting of trees; and, the conduct of investigation on the alleged damage / destruction of seagrass and other marine resources.

Local residents have been up in arms in the mining activities in Sibuyan Island, arguing that such activities have no place in a small area since it could damage the ecosystem which would eventually lead to adverse impacts on them.

Santiago said he had already directed the PPA Batangas not to issue any permit and continuously coordinate with the DENR until all the issues are resolved.