CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY(MindaNews/7 February)—After at least three postponements, local environmental groups finally filed Thursday a civil class suit against the city government and several others at the Court of Appeals here.
Representatives of member-organizations of Sulog, headed by Bangon Kagay-an, sought the issuance of writs of kalikasan and continuing mandamus, with prayer for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) and/or environmental protection order.
Petitioners of the civil suit include Bangon Kagay-an chair Richard Nixon Baban, Save CDO president Ralph Abragan, and private complainants Benjamin Contreras, Edwin Dael, Tito Noel Mora and Richie Neri Concepcion.
“This petition should help stop the plunder and destruction of our environment,” said Baban.
Listed as the civil suit’s respondents were “the Local Government Unit of the City of Cagayan de Oro, represented by Mayor Vicente Emano and the city council; the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), represented by Ramon Paje, DENR Secretary; and the DENR through Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 10, represented by its acting regional director Rex S. Monsanto.
Also included as respondents were the Philippine Long Sangda Mining Corp., Yellow Stone Minerals & Development Corp., Southocean Mining Corp., KF Net Corp and White Pearls Asia, Inc.
Lawyer Evangeline Carrasco, lead legal counsel for Sulog, said the civil suit is the first of its kind to be filed in Northern Mindanao.
“We are treading new grounds here,” said Carrasco.
The writ of kalikasan and the writ of continuing mandamus are contained in the Supreme Court’s en banc resolution on administrative matter 09-6-9SC, promulgated on April 13, 2010.
A writ of kalikasan, as provided under the Rules of Court, is a remedy available to “a natural or juridical person, entity authorized by law, people’s organization, non-governmental organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces.
On the other hand, through a writ of continuing mandamus, the issuing court can ensure the successful implementation of a relief previously granted by requiring compliance reports from the agency tasked to implement them. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)