The Supreme Court yesterday issued a temporary environment protection order (TEPO) against 94 “small-scale mines” that extract nickel in Zambales. Among the “small” mines are at least five fronts of giant nickel miners from China (see Gotcha, 24 July 2013). Allegedly operating outside the allowable area, the mines are illegal, pollutive, unregulated, untaxed, and destabilizing the economy.
The SC en banc acted on a petition of ten Masinloc townsmen for a TEPO against Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane, the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board, and one Camilo Esico.
Covered by the TEPO are respondents Environment and Natural Resources Sec. Ramon Paje, his Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Dept. of Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine National Police.