Bishop Alan Casicas of Marbel leads an ecumenical prayer service to open the Season of Creation at Notre Dame Siena – School of Marbel on September 1, 2022. SAC MARBEL

By CBCP News

September 17, 2022

Manila, Philippines

The southern Philippine diocese of Marbel claimed victory on Friday after the local government of Tampakan revoked a mining company’s permit to operate.

Fr. Jerome Millan, director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel, said the revocation is “another victory” in stopping the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. from operating in the area.

“We laud the LGU (local government unit) for this positive move,” Millan said.

Mayor Leonard Escobillo of Tampakan revoked the permit of SMI on Thursday due to alleged “fraud and misrepresentation”.

According to him, the “description of the business on the undertaking that is to be conducted was falsely stated.”

He pointed out that as per mayor’s permit, SMI is classified as a mineral exploration manufacturer, which is contrary to the LGU’s assessment that the company is not operating as a manufacturer but as a general engineering contractor.

“Nothing personal about this case. No opinion for or against mining. We are just doing our obligation to implement ordinances,” said Escobillo in a press conference today.

Alyansa Tigil Mina national coordinator Jaybee Garganera also welcomed the decision of the local government.

“We commend the local government of Tampakan for applying the law and holding the mining company accountable for its false statements in its Mayor’s Permit documents,” he said.

The $5.9-billion Tampakan gold-copper project, which covers around 10,000 hectares, straddles four provinces in Mindanao including South Cotabato.

The area is touted as one of the largest untapped copper-gold deposits in Southeast Asia and among the biggest in the world. It is also reportedly expected to yield an average of 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold annually.

Yoly Esguerra of Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) said the LGU’s move is a step forward in ensuring that town’s residents will have a healthy ecology today and a better future.

“Uncovering the deception by Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) and decisively challenging it by revoking its business permit shows that Mayor Leonard Escobilla upholds transparency in governance,” Esguerra said.

“And more, it gives an example for other LGUs that they have the power to exercise their authority under the law, to willfully decide on its development direction, protect its people and ecological systems, and assert its governmental autonomy,” she added.

SMI earlier filed a civil case against the LGU of Tampakan after the latter charged the company P397 million in taxes.


CBCPNews is a church-based news agency operated by the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.  This apostolate aims at helping the work of the new evangelization through the news media.  This is non-commercial and non-profit.  That being the case, it totally depends on generosity of its readers and supporters.

Should you wish to donate kindly press the donate button.  Thank you.