Reports have reached the National Democratic Front in North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) that Claver Mining & Development Corporation (CMDC) still continues to operate and load nickel ore for shipment in violation of the suspension of its operations by the Department of Natural Resources (DENR). CMDC and former mining operator Shenzhou Mining Corp. have gravely destroyed the environment, causing severe siltation of the once pristine sea waters in the boundary of the two Surigao provinces. CMDC today is already owned by Surigao del Sur First District Congressman Prospero “Butch” Pichay. According to reports, Pichay acquired the company through fraudulent means, using his connections with corrupt government officials in the SEC to take control of the company and his connections in the DENR and MGB to continue its operations.

This blatant disregard for reactionary law is typical of Butch Pichay, a shameless corrupt official, intent in acquiring wealth through deceitful means. He became the number one lackey of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her all powerful “collector”, securing bribes from government projects for the Arroyo’s and himself. His appointment in the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) after his loss in his senatorial bid in 2013 was inundated with corruption issues. Graft cases were filed against him at the ombudsman in connection with the purchase of a bankrupt bank incurring big losses to the agency. The latter has recommended the filing of criminal cases. He is currently under a hold departure order for another graft and violation of ethical standards case for using LWUA funds for his personal use.

In Caraga, he was utterly shameless in collecting cuts from mining companies operating in the region for the Arroyos. According to reports, he collected 1% from proceeds of every shipload of nickel ore in the many destructive mining operations in Caraga. Foreseeing the end of his corrupt boss’s regime, he worked on acquiring his own mining company in Surigao del Sur, strong arming mining companies into awarding him portions of their mining concessions. He also acquired the mining rights of CMDC, which was once operated by Shenzhou, through deceitful means, grabbing the opportunity offered when Shenzhou abandoned pursuing its operations after its suspension due to violation of environmental standards in July 2012. With his connections including his political ally, Surigao Norte Governor Sol Matugas, Pichay’s CMDC was able to acquire a loading permit despite DENR/MGB suspension. He was also able to secure a “verbal” ore transport permit (OTP) from another corrupt official, then MGB director Leo Jasareno who also granted Shenzhou loading permits after its suspension, and was able to sell a shipload of ore in June of this year.

CMDC operations including the loading and selling of nickel ore, were suspended by now DENR Secretary Gina Lopez in August 12 this year. Still, Pichay, ever defiant, continue to load nickel ore. In September 29, 2016, the illegal loading of nickel ore for shipment was halted by operatives from the NBI. But it seems that corrupt officials have strong networks with fellow corrupt officials as the loading of nickel ore continue, day and night, in plain sight of everyone travelling by the area.

Butch Pichay, using funds from corruption, ensured his re-election as congressman of the first district of Surigao del Sur. With the assurance of corrupt government officials still in place under the Duterte administration, Pichay continue to use his position to plunder Caraga’s resources, blatantly ignoring the reactionary laws of the land and unmindful of the destruction wrought by his mining operations.

Pichay, a lawmaker, has disregarded the reactionary laws numerous times. Yet he has the utter gall of filing an ethics case against his fellow congressman because of an altercation, when he is the one who has no compunction in violating Philippine laws using his position as lawmaker.
Utterly corrupt officials like Butch Pichay should be taken to task! The NDFP-NEMR, will continue to expose the shameless corruption of Butch Pichay. It will heed the clamor of the people of Caraga of ending the destructive mining operation of CMDC!

Maria Malaya