Digging for profits: Who owns PH mines?


Name of mining firm: Strong Built Mining Dev. Corp.
Location: Dulag, Mayorga, MacArthur, Javier and Abuyog in Leyte
Mining area: 7,411.56 hectares
Metals extracted/ mine products: Magnetite sand
Mining permit period: 2007-2032



Incorporation date: Sept. 17, 1999

Rama, Chandran R.
Rama, Maria Aimee S.
Alvero, Jorge Jr. R.
Santos, Cedric A.
Rodriguez, Eduardo T.
Villapano, Mikhail Rhuy D.
Santos, Maria Trina A.

Chairperson of the Board: Rama, Chandran R.



Current assets: P37 million (2017)
Current liabilities: P35 million (2017)
Total revenue: P530,393 (2016)
Net income: -P6.5 million (2017)



According to an Order issued to Strong Built on Feb. 8, 2017 pertaining to operations under MPSA 254-2007-VIII, the company had committed violations of mining and environmental laws, such as:

  • failure to submit the required reports;

  • lack of a formal agreement with the host community pertaining to the Social Development and Management Program;

  • lack of an accredited third-party hazardous waste transporter;

  • non-compliance with the hazardous waste manifest system; and

  • failure to conduct an ambient air monitoring, among others.

DENR’s review of the audit report and explanations provided by the company also showed that it had violated certain provisions of the following laws and rules and regulations:

  • RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and its IRR;

  • DAO 2016-08, the IRR of RA 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004; and

  • DAO 2000-81, the IRR of RA 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999.

These violations, according to the order, constituted sufficient grounds for the cancellation of Strong Built’s MPSA.  

The full report and/or copy of the DENR order may be viewed here.



PCIJ sent a letter to the company on Feb. 10, 2022 and made follow-ups on March 2 via email, and called its office on the same day. We have not received a response as of this writing.



On Feb. 8, 2017, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued an order cancelling Strong Built’s operations. 

In July 2020, Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda was quoted as saying in a news report that the company, along with other four firms, were “granted approval by the Office of the President (OP) after complying with mining laws.” The other firms that were allowed to resume operations were Emir Mineral Resources Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., Berong Nickel Corp., and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp.



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General Information Sheet, 2019
Financial Statement, 2017
List of existing Mineral Production Sharing Agreements, Mining and Geosciences Bureau
Philippine Metallic Mineral Production, Mines and Geosciences Bureau
Poverty and socioeconomic indicators, Philippines Statistics Authority

Copy of full Mine Audit Reports by company, 2016
Copy of Notices of Issuance of an Order, 2017
Copy of Orders of Cancellation and/or Suspension, 2017

Acronyms used:

RA (Republic Act)
IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations)
PD (Presidential Decree)
DAO (Department Administrative Order)
MPSA (Mineral Production Sharing Agreement)
SDMP (Social Development and Management Plan)

Disclaimer: The mine audit was conducted in 2016 after Regina “Gina” Paz Lopez assumed the post of environment secretary. The findings in the reports, which authorities sent to the mining firms in 2016, were likely addressed in the succeeding years following a review conducted by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council after the audit led by Lopez, who died in 2019. PCIJ has verified the reports and reached out to each company for comment. We suggest you also confirm findings included in the reports as some information may have changed over time.

The reports come from files that PCIJ has received in connection with various environmental investigations. We are releasing them in full, recognizing the public value of the files to mining communities, miners, policymakers, civil society, and researchers.
Note: The Human Development Index is a measure of how well a country has performed, not only in terms of real income growth, but also in terms of social indicators that measure people's ability to lead a long and healthy life, acquire knowledge and skills, and have access to the resources needed to afford a decent standard of living. An HDI value below 0.550 is considered low and below 0.399 is very low. The national average for the Philippines is 0.718 as of 2020.

This article was produced with the support of Internews' Earth Journalism Network.