Monday, March 5, 2012

Pit(i)kin Today

The last time I blogged about Pitkin is sometime in March 2010 and I would like to reiterate here that I am against all “all out” yes to any extractive industries coming to our fragile island, whether it is (mineral) mining or oil exploration, whether it is under Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or Department of Energy (DOE). I just do pray that our LGU officials, including officials of our local Church who are at present in-charge of her social action apostolate, will make sure that the welfare of the people, especially the Mangyans and our ecosystems will not be sacrificed in the altar of so-called progress.

I have heard from the grapevine that Department of Energy (DoE) Undersecretary Jose R. Layug will have a meeting with LGU leaders of Occidental Mindoro headed by Gov. Josephine Y. Ramirez-Sato and Vice Governor Mario Gene J. Mendiola on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Their main agenda is the Pitkin Petroleum PLC Service Contract 53 Exploration Project. Pitkin is a United Kingdom based oil and gas exploration company and its worldwide exploration manager is William J. Ashby. Apparently, the invitation letter to all LGUs in the province was sent by DOE’s energy resource development bureau director Ismael U. Ocampo.

In 2010, I have reported that the late energy secretary Angelo T. Reyes revealed in a letter to Froilan A. Tampico, president and Chief Executive Officer of the National Power Corporation (NPC) that the Pitkin Petroleum PLC discovered natural gas instead of oil in their exploration in the southern part of Occidental Mindoro. According to a Pitkin report then, they have drilled a natural gas discovery which they call Progreso A1X. The oil company is proposing that NPC lease natural gas generators to replace the leased diesel generators and use the natural gas from the Progreso discovery as fuel. El Progreso, where apparently they discovered natural gas is part of Brgy. San Isidro (Canwaling), San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

On Wednesday, it is expected that our LGU leaders, Pitkin and DOE people will be talking about Aeromagnetic Gradiometry Survey. It is a survey that is expected to augment the previous Magneto Telluric and Seismic Surveys conducted four years ago. The aeromagnetic gradiometer measures all small changes in the earth’s magnetic field by using an aircraft. In this case, Pitkin will be using a twin-engine plane for the project. Pitkin assured everyone that the aircraft will leave no disturbance whatsoever except to the noise of the plane. Aside from the aircraft, one base station for differential GPS and a magnetometer base are needed. So, in the next 20 days or so, a plane will be hovering over towns of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro like a big fly circling around over a delicious cake.

I would like to reiterate that the law that regulates the oil industry in the Philippines is a product of the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos: the Presidential Decree (PD) 87 or the “Oil Exploration and Development Act of 1972”, also known as the “Service Contract Law”. It is one of the many Marcos laws that need to be amended. On the outset, the government and the oil exploration companies claim that their aim is to develop an indigenous Filipino oil industry but in reality its provisions are extremely favorable to foreign corporations like Pitkin Petroleum PLC.

When Sablayan Mayor Eduardo B. Gadiano was still the town’s vice mayor and presiding officer of Sangguniang Bayan, he echoed the call then of the Fakasadian Mangagoyang Tau-Buid Daga, Inc. or FAMATODI that Pitkin should first secure Certificate of Pre-condition from the NCIP before they could resume any of their activities within the ancestral domain of the Tau-Buid Mangyans specifically in Burgos, Sablayan.

While General Ordinance No. 2007-GO03B, an ordinance of Sablayan for a 25-year mining moratorium, is limited only to large-scale mining, Sablayan’s Environmental Code known as Municipal Ordinance No. 2008-003, prohibits all extractive activities including non-metallic resources in the municipality.

Our shout remains the same : “Pitikin ang Pitkin!”…

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