Manicani residents fueled to bag the next victory as they leave camp

KAMPO PRESS RELEASE

FIRST VICTORY OF MANY-- After 36 days of camping outside the DENR main office, residents-protesters from Manicani will be spending the Christmas season with their families. This is after DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu faced the communities and committed to address the problem of large-scale, open-pit mining in Manicani, a protected area under Presidential Proclamation 469.

During a dialogue held last December 11 at the DENR Central Office, Secretary Cimatu assured the residents that no mining activities will be allowed in Manicani as the environment chief recognized its being a protected area.

Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO) President Marcial Somooc welcomed Secretary Cimatu's commitment as it heeded their appeals to put an end to mining in Manicani which he said resulted in environmental destruction, loss of livelihood, human rights violations and strained social relations.

"Unang una ay nagpapasalamat kami kay Secretary Cimatu na kanya na kaming hinarap. Bagama't natagalan, narinig namin mula mismo sa kanyang bibig na wala nang magaganap na pagmimina sa aming lupa," said Somooc.

"Masaya kami na magandang balita ang maiuuwi namin sa aming mga kababayan. Magandang regalo ito para sa mga kasama naming magpahanggang ngayon ay naka-kampo rin sa labas ng DENR Region 8 office at sa aming kanya-kanyang pamilya," added Somooc.

According to the residents present during the meeting, the secretary committed to promote sustainable livelihood projects in the island. "Sa kanya mismo namin narinig na tutulungan kami ng kagawaran na makabuo ng mga kabuhayan na hindi galing sa mina," said Rebecca Destajo of SAMAMO.

The Secretary is set to visit the island on January 2018. "Pinanghahawakan namin ang mga pangako na ito at bagama't kami ay masaya sa naging resulta ng pagkakampo, mananatili kaming mapagmatiyag na kanyang matupad ang kanyang mga ipinangako," added Destajo.

Meanwhile, Nancy Badilla of SAMAMO remains optimistic that this fight will bear more fruits than mere promises. Badilla's father, a vocal anti-mining activist, is still imprisoned for being accused of a crime he did not commit. "Sa oras na hindi tuparin ni Secretary Cimatu ang kanyang mga binitiwang pangako, babalik kami sa harap ng kanyang kagawaran nang mas malakas at mas matapang para siya's singilin," Badilla asserted.

Hopeful Christmas for the Zambales campers

Across the Manicani camp outside DENR are Sta. Cruz, Zambales residents who have camped out at the office since November 30, 2017 to demand the enforcement of the cancellation and suspension orders against four mining operations in their municipality.

During the December 11 dialogue, only residents from Manicani were granted an audience by Cimatu. "Ang nangyari sa Manicani ay aming ikinatutuwa at sa kanilang tagumpay kami huhugot ng lakas na pagtibayan pa ang aming loob dito sa labas na nagkakampo," said Herman Malong of Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz, Zambales.

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FOR INQUIRIES:

Marcial Somooc, SAMAMO: 0916 643 2327 Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Sanlakas: 0927 592 4830 Jaybee Garganera, ATM: 0917 549 8218 Jay Ablola, PMPI: 0998 248 7970

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