5.9B US Dollar mine project, PH’s largest, gets DENR OK Created on February 20, 2013, 1:58 am Posted by nup

The country’s largest mining project has finally gotten the green light from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) but under stiff conditions, an official said on Tuesday.

The controversial .9-billion Tampakan copper-gold project of Swiss firm Xstrata and its local unit, Sagittarius Mining Inc. (SMI), in Southern Mindanao has been granted an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), one of the requirements it needs to operate.

The project was stalled due to a provincial ordinance banning open-pit mining in South Cotabato.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the recent opinion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) stressing the supremacy of national laws over local regulations prompted the DENR to issue the ECC.

“The DOJ opinion was very clear to us. It was a major factor in our decision [to allow SMI to proceed with the project],” Paje said on the phone.

He said his department issued the permit to the SMI project upon the recommendation of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), an agency attached to the DENR.

But he said the grant of the ECC to SMI was subject to certain conditions, and failure to comply could result in its revocation.

“SMI should make public the feasibility of the project, ensure that the area does not cover those where mining is prohibited and ensure social acceptability through consultations with stakeholders,” Paje said in a statement.

SC en banc voids ‘dubious’ RCAO resolution of Sereno Created on February 19, 2013, 3:39 am Posted by nup

The Supreme Court en banc has taken back the spurious resolution handed down by the office of   Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno putting up a Regional Court Administration Office (RCAO) in Cebu City without the prior approval of all of the justices.
In a three-page resolution, the 15-man tribunal invalidated all the previous resolutions, administrative orders and issuances made by Sereno when she revived RCAO on her own.
“This resolution supersedes all prior resolutions, administrative orders and issuances on the covered matter and shall take effect upon its promulgation,” the latest resolution on the controversy pointed out and is entitled: “Creating A Needs Assessment Committee to Study the Necessity of Decentralizing the Functions Appurtenant to the Power of the Supreme Court of Administrative Supervision Over Lower Court.”
The resolution would invalidate the reopening of RCAO done by Sereno in Cebu City last Nov. 26, 2012.
Sereno had earlier issued a draft resolution with insertions of “whereas” clauses which could make it appear that her fake resolution is ratified. 
The Chief Justice reportedly made a draft on her own despite the fact that she is not the ponente in the case, but Associate Justice Jose Portugal Perez.
The latest resolution stated that the chairman of the Committee to study RCAO’s creation would be Perez.
The members would be Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, Deputy Court Administrators Raul Villanueva , Jennylind Dolorino, Assistant Court Administrator Thelma Bahia, Chief of Financial Management Office Atty. Lilian Baribal-Co, Atty. Caridad Pabello of the Office of the Administrative Services, Office of Halls of Justice Chief Atty. Regina Adoracion Filomena-Ignacio and Judge Geraldine Faith Econg, Administrator of the Judicial Reform Program.
“Now therefore, the court hereby resolves to create a decentralization needs assessment committee to study and determine the necessity of decentralizing administrative functions appurtenant to the exercise of the Supreme Court’s power of supervision over lower courts; the functions to be devolved; the implementation of the devolution of the functions; and the efficient and effective performance of the devolved functions.”
It also stated that this “committee is given a period of two months within which to submit its report and recommendation to the Supreme Court en banc.”

With or without source code, midterm elections will push through — Brillantes Created on February 19, 2013, 3:22 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Election Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., on Sunday asked detractors to stop casting doubt on the integrity of the 2013 elections in the absence of a review of the source code by political parties and IT experts. He noted that the country held successful presidential and national elections in 2010 even without the physical appreciation of the source code of Precinct Counting Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

The May 2013 midterm elections will use the same PCOS machines, and Comelec is paying the same supplier, the Venezuela-based Smartmatic. This, amid fears of glitches and avenues for fraud because a source code review will again, as in 2010, not be possible.

Filipino sultan says his followers won't leave Sabah Created on February 18, 2013, 4:12 am Posted by nup
Followers of a Philippine sultan who crossed to the Malaysian state of Sabah this month will not leave and are reclaiming the area as their ancestral territory, the sultan said Sunday amid a tense standoff.
 
Sultan Jamalul Kiram said his followers—some 400 people including 20 gunmen—were resolute in staying despite being cornered by security forces, with the Kuala Lumpur government insisting the group return to the Philippines.
 
"Why should we leave our own home? In fact they (the Malaysians) are paying rent (to us)," he told reporters in Manila.
 
"Our followers will stay in (the Sabah town of) Lahad Datu. Nobody will be sent to the Philippines. Sabah is our home," he said.
 
The sultan did not directly threaten violence but said "there will be no turning back for us."
 
Malaysian officials have said that many of the group have weapons, but Kiram insisted his followers made the trip unarmed.
 
"If they have arms, they were already in Sabah," the sultan said.
 
The southern Philippine-based Islamic sultanate once controlled parts of Borneo, including the site of the stand-off, and its heirs have been receiving a nominal yearly compensation package from Malaysia under a long-standing agreement for possession of Sabah.
 
Kiram said he was prompted to send the group to Sabah after the sultanate was left out of a framework agreement sealed in October between Manila and Filipino Moro rebels, which paves the way for an autonomous area in the southern Philippines that is home to the Muslim minority of the largely-Christian nation.
 
The sultanate's spokesman, Abraham Idjirani, later said the sultan's brother Raja Muda Abimuddin Kiram, who led the group to Sabah, had told him via telephone that the party was preparing to stay.
 
"The objective is to reside now in that place permanently, considering the sultanate owns Sabah by rights of sovereignty," he told AFP.
 
Idjirani said there were about 400 followers of the sultanate in the area, including about 20 who were armed.
 
On Thursday, Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein put the number at between 80 to 100 gunmen.
 
Idjirani said the group would not instigate violence but would resist if provoked.
 
"We recognize the capability of Malaysia. We don't have the arms and capacity but we have the historical truth," he said, adding that the group's "fate is to see the recognition they are entitled to... or they die defending their ancestral rights."
 
Idjirani said President Benigno Aquino's senior aides had been in contact with the sultan and were willing to deliver a letter to the Malaysian government on his behalf for negotiations. —Agence France-Presse
 
Dancing to end violence Created on February 15, 2013, 8:40 am Posted by nup

HUNDREDS danced in support of the global campaign to end violence against women and children.

Members of nongovernment organizations and government agencies participated in the One Billion Rising campaign that was held simultaneously in Manila, Iloilo, Davao City and Bacolod yesterday at the Ayala Center Cebu.

Leny Ocasiones, Gabriela Cebu party-list chairperson, said the activity was aimed at highlighting the efforts of Cebu-based groups to address various forms of abuse against women and children.

“We want to register our opposition to violence against women and children and be in solidarity with the world,” she told reporters yesterday.

‘Alarming’

“The statistics are very alarming. We have one woman out of every three women will be beaten or raped in their lifetime,” she said.

Geraldine Labradores, The Fair Trade Shop Cebu director, said there are 37 laws and policies that aim to protect women and children, but the statistics on abuse continue to rise.

She said data from the Women Resource Center from January to December 2012, there were 20,359 cases of rape, attempted rape, incest, domestic violence and sexual abuse.

“As a gender that gives life and nurtures life, we need to be empowered,” she said.

“We think we are safe at home, but we are not. We are abused by our husband, father, uncle,” said Thelma Chiong, of Crusade against Violence and Cebu Women’s Network, in her solidarity message.

“We think we are safe in malls,” she said, referring to her daughters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong were kidnapped, raped and killed in the late 1990s.

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