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Cagayan mayor suspended for leading anti-mining protests

March 7, 2009 5:34pm

Tags: Cagayan
TUGUEGARAO, Philippines - A mayor from the northern province of Cagayan who was blamed for provoking anti-mining rallies at the capitol compound has been suspended by the Provincial Board.

Buguey Mayor Ignacio Taruc was meted a 60-day preventive suspension due to a case filed against him by his Vice Mayor Licerio Antiporda for alleged abuse of authority, grave misconduct and oppression.

Board Members Melvin Vargas, Vicente Pagurayan, Wilson Puyaoan, Jenerwin Bacuyag, Precy Vargas, Wycoco Abraham and Washington Taguinod, all members of the majority bloc voted for the suspension.

BMs Arnold Alonzo, Rodolfo Alvarado, Erwin Lara, Victor Perez and Jessie Usita believed that there were not enough grounds to suspend the mayor.

In a statement, Taruc averred that the decision was not based on the merits of the case filed by Antiporda but by mere politics and pressure from some powerful personalities in the province.

He also opined that some members of the board were probably uncomfortable with the judgment but that they have to “tag-along" for fear that their “benefits and privileges" might be compromised.

Governor Alvaro Antonio, however, supported the members of the majority bloc by claiming that the mayor’s suspension has nothing to do with a mining fiasco but was solely based on a previous case filed by Antiporda.

Mayor Taruc was earlier accused by Antonio for allegedly inciting Buguey townsfolk and some members of the clergy to stage a protest rally at the capitol compound for allowing foreign mining companies to operate in Buguey’s Mananga village.

During the anti-mining rally, protesters asserted that black sand (magnetite) mining poses a grave threat to their environment particularly on many of the province’s agricultural lands and that mining permits issued by the governor’s office were replete with irregularities.

Antonio denied the accusations. He said that the permits issued to some Chinese and Korean mining companies were legitimate and were duly approved by concerned government agencies.

Earlier, the Cagayan governor announced that a rally which Taruc reportedly organized was just a product of his “sour graping" after failing to secure a mining permit from the provincial government,

In his defense, the mayor retorted that he did not even entertain propositions from any mining firm. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Cagayan