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Manicani campers, envi groups storm NAC HQ

KAMPO PRESS RELEASE November 22, 2017

Taguig City – Protesters from Manicani Island, Easter Samar and Manila-based environmental groups stormed the headquarters of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) in Bonifacio Global City this morning November 22, 2017.

Carrying the same banner: Stop Mining in Manicani, the group of environmental activists conducted a lightning rally as the island leaders deliver their demand letter against the new application of Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) in Manicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar. HMC is a subsidiary mining corporation of Nickel Asia Corporation owned by Martin Antonio G. Zamora. The mining-affected community of Manicani delivered a letter to the NAC office demanding that the company should leave stop the mining operations and leave their island for good, while other activists raised placards and chanting their calls. Marcial Somooc, chairperson of Protect Manicani Island Society Inc, said, “Tama na ang dalawampu’t limang taon na hirap namin dahil sa minahan ng Hinatuan. Sinira na nila ang aming isla, ang kabuhayan namin, pati na rin ang relasyon ng magkakapamilya sa isla namin. Mismong magkakamag-anak ang nagpapatayan dahil sa away sa mina, at sinasamantala ito ng korporasyong ito upang pagkakitaan ang isla at pagdurusa.” HMC submitted documents last May 23, 2016, in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to renew their 1,164.55 hectare MPSA in the 1,165-hectare island of Manicani, but the 25-year sharing agreement between the government and the mining company has expired last October 27, 2017, before they completed the process. According to Alyansa Tigil Mina National Coordinator, Jaybee Garganera, “ATM will be vigilant, making it sure that there will be no renewal process for HMCs MPSA since it was expired. And if the company will apply for a new MPSA, both HMC and DENR must follow the prohibitions by Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other national laws, and respect the human and environmental rights.” The group of Manicani residents who led the protest has been camping outside of the DENR Central office in Quezon City for thirteen (13) days, waiting for the response and action to their demands from Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu. As of the moment, there is no effort from the DENR and from the secretary to resolve the concerns of the island folks. Among the complaints from the Manicani campers was the damaged coral reef ecosystem due to the siltation of toxic materials from the open-pit of HMC. This has affected the common livelihood on the island which is fishing. Says Oceana Philippines Vice President Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, "public participation, science-based decision making and the Rule of Law are three important pillars for the sustainable utilization and management of our precious marine resources. We should not tolerate exclusion and destructive and irreversible damage to our already threatened resources which - even when done on land - can severely affect the marine resources in a protected area. Not only is this a clear violation of the law and our environmental rights, it deprives our fishermen and their families of food and livelihood. We call on the government to protect our protected areas and our people - especially those whose only source of livelihood and well-being depend on healthy and functioning natural life support systems, like the good residents of Manicani." Meanwhile, for Sanlakas Secretary-General, Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, this mishap of the small island in Guiuan should serve as a wake-up call for the lawmakers and the president to repeal the flawed mining act of the Philippines and enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB). “This mishap of Manicani Island will continue, as well as to the other mining hot-spots because our current mining act is flawed. Not only flawed, it is also created only to exploit the country’s mineral resources. Considering the changing climate and the history of harassments, human rights violations, and environmental degradation, our country needs to enact the AMMB as soon as possible. Besides upholding the ban on open-pit mining, we demand a moratorium on large-scale mining until the new mining law is enacted,” Pedrosa said. ### FOR INQUIRIES: Karl Santos, Alyansa Tigil Mina 09171491717 – Zaira Baniaga, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice 09397071589 –

FOR INTERVIEWS: Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Sanlakas: 09275924830 Jaybee Garganera, ATM: 09175498218 Jay Ablola, PMPI: 09982487970 Marcial Somooc, SAMAMO-PROMISI: 09166432327

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