Ipilan Nickel Corporation has until May 24 to explain why no criminal charges should be filed against it for cutting down trees
MANILA, Philippines (May 23, 2017) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently issued a show cause order asking Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) to explain its tree-cutting activities in Brooke’s Point, Palawan despite the cancellation of its environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
In a statement on Tuesday, May 23, the environment department said it is giving INC until Wednesday, May 24, to explain why no criminal charges should be filed against it.
The show cause order dated May 17 and signed by DENR-Mimaropa Regional Director Natividad Bernardino said that according to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Brooke’s Point, Palawan, INC through its “authorized agents made brushing, clearing, and cutting of trees using axes and unregistered chainsaws.”
“The cuttings were made after the ECC has been cancelled…. We wish to state that with the cancellation of the ECC, all related mining activities including tree-cutting permits are likewise deemed cancelled,” read a copy of the show cause order obtained by Rappler.
Bernardino said INC’s acts were found to be “contrary to law and sufficient ground to file criminal complaint in a court of law.”
“The President of Ipilan Nickel Corporation is hereby ordered to show cause why he should not be charged of qualified theft for violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree No 705,” read the order, which based on records, was received by INC last Friday, May 19.
According to the DENR, the show cause order was issued based on a directive by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who himself ordered a “full investigation” into INC’s violations after he saw the extent of destruction in Palawan during an aerial inspection.
DENR cited initial reports in saying that the INC cut around 7,000 trees in 30 hectares of the 353 hectares of land covered by INC’s mineral production sharing agreement with the DENR.
The department noted that INC’s existing one-year tree cutting permit issued on May 26, 2016 was deemed no longer effective since December 14, 2016, when former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez ordered the cancellation of the mining company’s ECC.