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Madelaine B. Miraflor

Big miners support gov’t crackdown on illegal operators

Large mine operators heaved a sigh of relief as the government’s audit, which they thought focused only on those legally operating, now shifted towards illegal mining operations. The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said it welcomed the pronouncement of the Office of the Ombudsman to crack down on illegal mines around the country. Environmental Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera said the Office of the Ombudsman will coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in going after these illegal miners. He assured that after focusing on closing illegal dumpsites, the Office of the Ombudsman is also setting its sights on moving against illegal mining, logging, and fishing activities. “It is not enough that we are legal. We must primarily be responsible miners. The Chamber has always called for stricter measures in going …

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PH complies with Montreal Protocol

The Philippines has complied with a 29-year-old global agreement to protect the ozone layer, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said. "The Philippines has so far been successful in complying with the agreement having phased out all ODS [use of ozone-depleting substances], except for hydrofluorocarbons [HFCs], in 2010," DENR Undersecretary for Legal Services and Attached Agencies Analiza Rebuelta Teh said. Called Montreal Protocol, the agreement was finalized in 1987 and legally enforces the phase-out of the production and ODS or chemicals often used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, foam manufacturing, aerosol production, and fire extinguishing. Teh, who is the national coordinator for ODS program, said the country also began reducing the production and use of HFCs by 10 percent last year until the total ban of the last remaining ODS by 2040. The Philippines signed …

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Audit of 800 ECCs set next month

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will likely start the audit of 800 existing environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) next month, with guidelines of the said evaluation seen to be finalized this week. To recall, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Friday ordered the "intense evaluation" on projects that are "environmentally critical," which are from different sectors like power, infrastructure, and manufacturing sector. The audit on 800 existing ECCs followed after the agency reached the tailend of its nationwide audit on mining firms. DENR Undersecretary for Legal Ipat Luna said on Tuesday that the agency will come up with a set of guidelines that will set the direction for the audit on ECCs. "[The guidelines are] currently being polished and will be finalized before the end of the week," Luna said in a text …

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Local stocks rebound along regional markets

The local stock market surged by more than 200 points on Tuesday after some regional stocks cheered over US economic data. Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rebounded on Tuesday and rose by 212.94 points, or 2.89 percent to 7,571.15, while the wider all shares went up by 92.81 points, or 2.13 percent to close at 4,460.38. Luis Limlingan, business development head at Regina Capital Development Corp. (RCDC), said PSEi, along with Asian stocks, rose as mixed US economic data supported the case for monetary policy to remain accommodative. "Investors shrugged off a weak performance from US stocks, which closed with modest losses as oil prices eased through $50, following largely cautious commentary from three high profile investors and despite solid corporate earnings," Limlingan said in a text message. He cited that US industrial production …

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Piñol addresses fund mismanagement at DA

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol assured that his administration must avoid the pitfalls of fund mismanagement that characterized the previous administrations that even with the big chunk of national budget allocated to agriculture, the agency still failed its mandate to improve food production. As he seeks a larger budget for the DA next year, Piñol acknowledged that over the past years, the agency has been mishandling its yearly budget in a way that most of its expenses did not directly contribute to food production. "Let's bring back the DA to its original mandate which is food production. Through the years, nalihis ng landas ang DA. Kung ano-ano ang pinasukan. There's a lot of agri-pinoy trading centers all over the country that wasn't incorporated. That's money of the government spent for inoperational facilities," the …

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PH shares recover

The local stock market recovered after seven days at the negative territory after China saw an “unexpected” increase in its factory gate prices, sending regional stocks higher. Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) on Friday gained 77.12 points, or 1.06 percent to 7,389.30, while the wider all shares rose by 33.09 points, or 0.76 percent to 4,402.69. This followed after higher commodity prices pushed China’s producer price index went up for the first time in five years, overshadowing the country’s poor trade data. All the sectors also recovered, led by mining and oil, which was up by 276.46 points, or 2.55 percent to 11,140.92, followed by property, which gained 60.70 points, or 1.89 percent to 3,266.78. Other sectors that also recovered include financials, which increased by 22.31 points, or 1.27 percent to 1,780.17, and services, …

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ECCs of 800 projects across industries face intense audit

As much as 800 projects from across different industries — be it from the infrastructure sector, manufacturing, or power — will undergo scrutiny as the government sets an "intense" evaluation on all existing environmental clearances. "There are 800 ECCs and we are going to evaluate all of them. We are coming up with an ECC audit," said Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez in an interview with reporters Friday. "We are going to categorize all the projects by sector," Lopez added. As she announced this comprehensive review of the environmental compliance certificates (ECC) granted to 800 projects across domestic industries, the DENR suspended the ECC of Austral-Asia Link Mining Corp. for its mining operation in Davao Oriental as well as that of  Century Communities Corp.'s, which has a housing project inside the …

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5 US groups eye $1-B projects in Mindanao

The government is in talks with five or six US groups interested to invest as much as $1 billion in Mindanao, particularly in the area of environmental development within the region. Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now identifying specific areas in Mindanao where these foreign groups can put their money into. This developed after Environment Secretary Gina Lopez was able to convince these investors to consider investing in Mindanao during her visit in New York last month, Lopez specifically attended private sessions with investors on the sidelines of United Nations (UN) assembly. "It was a successful activity or trip because we were able to discuss with different groups and investors there how we want to run the DENR," Leones told reporters on the sidelines …

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DA, DOH oppose transfer of jurisdiction over processed meat

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Health (DOH) is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to postpone the transfer of jurisdiction over processed meat products from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The DA and DOH drafted an Executive Order (EO) that will temporary hold in abeyance the implementation of the President's order for DA's NMIS to transfer its jurisdiction over meat products to FDA, which is under the DOH. Beata Humilda O. Obsioma, Officer-in-Charge of NMIS, said the transfer of the jurisdiction from NMIS to FDA happened two months ago. "The President needs to sign the EO to transfer again the Authority of Processing to NMIS because according to PAMPI [Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc.], FDA lacks manpower so the processing takes so …

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DA eyes loans from China, Japan

Philippines is planning to obtain long-term loans from China and Japan to fund more projects in the agriculture sector such as Farm to Market Roads (FMR), post-harvest facilities, cold storage facilities for fish, among others. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he would like to explore the possibility of borrowing money from China and Japan to augment the yearly budget of his department. DA is among the top government agencies that receive bulk of the country's total budget every year. Last year, the country allotted P85.63 billion for its Agricultural Development Program. “I asked the President that on the sidelines of his state visit in China, I will have somebody to make an arrangement for exploratory talks with banks of China and other institutions," Piñol told reporters. “We're also exploring Japan because they are …

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