Thinking Pinoy: Examining Duterte’s Miner-Friend

March 2, 2016

Examining Duterte’s Miner-Friend




Just like Mar Roxas, Duterte also has a “friend” from the mining industry. Now, it's time to let that "friend" take the hot seat.
Presidential candidates’ ties with mining companies have come under scrutiny after the discovery of cozy ties between Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and illegal miner SR Metals Inc. (SRMI).

Like Roxas, Duterte enjoys the support of the Alcantara Family, owner of Alsons Consolidated Resources Incorporated (ACR), which has interests in mining, according to a Rappler report.



The Alcantara Family, owners of ACR, supports presidential candidate Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte.

Logically, the perfect question to ask is…

What is ACR and what does it do?

The Alcantara Family is owns the the Alcantara Group (Alsons Corporation) which, in turn, is ACR’s majority owner. ACR’s core interests are power generation, real estate, forestry and mining.
The table below shows ACR’s various holdings:


ACR Mining

ACR operates ACR Mining Corporation (ACR Mining) through a joint venture with Australia’s Indophil Resources.

ACR Mining holds a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with the government (MPSA). This MPSA covers 1547 hectares in the Masara Mining District in Maco, Compostela Valley (ComVal), about 60 kilometers north of Davao City.

The company’s ComVal operations is still in the brownfield exploration stage. Gold, silver, lead, and zinc deposits have been found.

Brownfield exploration is the process of looking for deposits near or adjacent to an already operating mine.

As ACR Mining is still in the brownfield exploration stage, actual mining operations, which includes the mass-extraction of mineral ores, have not yet commenced.

An existing and fully operational Maco mining site is owned by Apex Mining Company Inc. Apex Mining is not owned by the Alcantaras.

ACR Power Generation

The majority of Alcantara Family’s holdings is in the power generation sector, where it owns eight power generation companies in Mindanao.

To address Mindanao’s power issues, ACR built a 210-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani.  The power plant contains two power generating units. Unit One was scheduled to start operations in February 2016.

“We’re looking ahead to what Mindanao grid will need. First, there is enough baseload power plants being built, so we believe there will be adequate baseload in next 10 to 15 years. We’re anticipating, an opportunity for generation companies in RE (renewable energy) space, mainly hydro,” according to Joseph Nocos, Alsons’ VP for Business Development.

ACR is developing coal-fired power facilities to help provide a stable source of baseload power for Mindanao and ensure long-term power security for the island.

Mindanao has been suffering from long rotational brownouts these past few years as the current power supply falls short of rising consumer demand.

Nocos explained that the coal-powered plant was built urgently address Mindanao’s power shortage, and that the company is shifting to renewable energy in future power generating facilities.

Rappler reported that this month, ACR earmarked USD 650 million (Php 31 billion) for hydroelectric and solar power projects with a projected total generating capacity of 205 megawatts.

A Schematic Diagram of a Hydroelectric Power Plant
A Schematic Diagram of a Hydroelectric Power Plant

“We have 80 to 90 MW of hydro service contracts under application with the DOE (Department of Energy) which we expect the DOE to decide on within the year. If all of those are approved then we will end up with a total hydro portfolio of 180MW which we hope to implement in the next 5 years," Nocos said.

“The ratio between non-RE and RE would be 75:25 in favor of non-RE. If you look at it 10 years on the horizon, the ratio would probably turn out 50:50,” Nocos said.

ACR Forestry

ACR also owns Davao Industrial Plantation Inc. (DIPI), an environmental conservation, forest renewal and sustainable forest management company.

DIPI serves as the Alcantara Group’s resident technical expert in plantation forestry and agro forestry establishment and development, nursery and agro forestry maintenance.

DIPI employs members of the local residents, such as Ata-Manobos (a Lumad group), in the area and involves them in the task of reforestation.

DIPI will develop 20,000 hectares in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, into a forest plantation by planting 31 million seedlings of falcata, bagras and mangium-fast-growing wood species suitable for a wide range of end products.

1990s Ata-Manobo Conflict

Alsons, through DIPI, was involved in a 4-year conflict with the Ata-Manobo tribe of Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

In 1994, Alsons commenced with its tree-planting operations over a 29,000-hectare Talaingod, through an Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) with the DENR, according to the Human Rights Watch.

Tree-planting activities ran smoothly in the town center, but when operations reached Barangay Nasilban, tribal leaders opposed the operations, claiming that the area is ancestral domain.

Each side claimed that the other side used force.

In September 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Alsons, the 64th Infantry Battalion, Salugpungan, and the municipality of Talaingod.

In the MOU, Alsons pledged to defer from the use of force to implement its development plans and to respect the decision of Ata occupants who refused to have the lands they occupy be taken for IFMA purposes.

The issue deeply divided the Ata-Manobos. One side was opposed to Alson’s IFMA, while the other wanted Alsons to continue operations as the latter depend on Alsons for their livelihood.

Tensions and standoffs continued for the next several months, prompting the DENR to suspend Alsons’ IFMA in February 1995.

In March 1995, an investigative and humanitarian mission organized by NGOs was blocked from entering the area where Salugpungan members were in hiding by a group of Ata-Manobo, armed with machetes, who refused to let them enter or pass through the town of Talaingod.

After a prolonged lobbying effort by Tilaingod Mayor Libayao and other members of the Ata-Manobo community who were dependent on Alsons for their livelihood, the IFMA was reinstated in May 1995. [Thinking Pinoy]
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TP's Note: I have spent over 4 hours trying to look for scandals about ACR, but I can't find any save for the 1990s Manobo conflict, which was peacefully resolved. If the reader can find complaints about this company, feel free to email me at akosithinkingpinoy@gmail.com
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