No to another 25 years of destruction! No to MPSA renewal on Manicani Island!

PRESS STATEMENT

November 10, 2017

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), a coalition of organizations and groups who have decided to collectively challenge the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines, is standing together with the Protect Manicani Island Society Inc. (PROMISI) against the imminent renewal of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Hinatuan Mining Corporation/Samar Nickel Mining Resources Corporation in Manicani Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The island itself has already suffered in the destruction brought by Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) in the past two decades since the company obtained their permit to extract ore deposits in 1992. People in Manicani Island have been restless in resisting since the start of the mining operation. In 2002, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) suspended HMC’s operation following a complaint about human rights and environmental violations; this should serve as a proof for the struggle in mining activity in the area.

Though the said mining company was suspended, the mining operation in the small island did not stop as the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issued an order in 2014 allowing HMC to transport a million metric tons of nickel ore in its stockpile. Last October 28, 2017, the company’s MPSA has expired, but the HMC is already preparing for the renewal of the sharing agreement since last May 23, 2016.

According to ATM National Coordinator, Jaybee Garganera, “the people and the environment of Manicani Island cannot bear another 25 years of large-scale mining operations because of the long-time resistance from the island folks and the threat of heightened natural calamity caused by climate change.”

“Also, Manicani Island is a protected area, part of the Guiuan Protected Seascape and Landscape under NIPAS, and it is stated in that republic act that such area is protected against destructive human exploitation,” Garganera added.

ATM has also expressed its stand against the recent recommendation of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council to lift the ban on open-pit mining. HMC is using the open-pit method to extract nickel in Manicani and their MPSA covers 1,164 hectares of the 1,165-hectare island. If this mining company will continue its operation, there will be nothing left on that small island.

As the residents of the island and environmental groups staged a protest in the DENR Region VIII in Tacloban last October 25, DENR 8 Assistant Regional Director Carlito Tuballe said that HMC’s MPSA can only be approved by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu. Though the so-called ‘environment’ secretary has not responded to any of our demands, ATM is still calling Sec. Roy Cimatu to do the right decision not to renew the MPSA of HMC in Manicani Island, and to endorse a moratorium on large-scale mining operations and uphold the ban on open-pit mining. We give him this chance to prove that he is fit for the responsibility of protecting the rights of the community and the environment.

Also, ATM is reminding Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to fulfill his promises resolving the grievances of the mining-affected communities and hold the destructive mining companies accountable for the damages in the Philippine environment and the lives of his people. This will only happen if the President will prioritize the enactment of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill as a new mining law of the country.

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ALYANSA TIGIL MINA is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>

Karl Isaac Santos, Media and Communications Officer, (0917) 149.17.17 <media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net>

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