MACARTHUR, Leyte — Following criticism from the public after a mining company has started initial work before its operations go full blast, MacArthur Mayor Rudin Babante on Monday clarified that he has the best intention for his constituents when he decided to support the company.
In a statement, Babante noted he is confident that the operations of MacArthur Iron Projects Corporation (MIPC) — which runs the local operation of Strong Built Mining Development Corporation (SBMDC) — can bring the progress that has eluded the town for over three decades now.
SBMDC holds a 25-year Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with the local government for blacksand mining in Leyte. The MPSA — which was signed in July 2007 — covers 7,411.55 hectares of land spanning the towns of Dulag, Mayorga, MacArthur, Abuyog and Javier.
The mining company is extracting magnetite, a mineral used in the production of steel, where the ores will be shipped primarily in China.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional director Leo Van Juguan, on the other hand, said mining is one the priority projects of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
“The purpose for this is if we can put it into production and we can have employment and generation of income both for the national and local government and as long as the environmental concerns are addressed, we will support it,” Juguan told Daily Tribune.
Babante, meantime, stressed that the ongoing mining activity in Barangay Maya, MacArthur complied with all the requirements with permits from the national and provincial government and the barangay.
He added 300 local residents are already gainfully employed by the mining company at this point when its operation remains limited.
“I only have in mind the best interest of my constituents. I want to see real progress happening in our town during my term,” Babante said, adding that the mining company is already constructing a pier on its shoreline, which, he said can be maximized to attract investments to his municipality.
“Investment will now come because of the pier. We can now invite investors from Mindanao, Cebu and other parts of the region,” Babante said.
Babante also denied insinuations in social media that he received millions of pesos in bribe money from the mining company in exchange for his support.
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