Barikada ng Bayan Against Illegal Mining Operations Put Up in Brooke’s Point
Press Statement | February 18, 2023.
A Barikada ng Bayan was put up in Brooke’s Point, Palawan today as residents demanded that Ipilan Nickel Corporation immediately stop its mining operations, especially that it has been operating without a Mayor’s Permit.
Vice Mayor Jean Feliciano of Brooke’s Point said residents have no recourse but to organize a barricade since the mining company continues to operate despite an order by the Mayor to stop operations. She said that on February 6, 2023, Municipal Mayor Cesareo Benedito Jr., ordered the INC to stop operations after it was discovered that the mining company has no Mayor’s permit for 2023.
“The people themselves are organizing the action to fight for their welfare,” she said. “We are thankful to the residents of Brooke’s Point who are willing to make sacrifices to protect our natural resources, livelihoods and our future.”
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said: “As in the case of Sibuyan, the mining company also has no permit to cut down trees and no PPA permit for the construction of the port and causeway, hence their operations are illegal. Ipilan Nickel is in effect, undermining the autonomy of the local government and clearly violating the law.”
Vic Colili, Sanggunian Bayan member said “they are doing business without a business permit.” He also revealed that “Ipilan Nickel also has 3 major contractors engaged in mine pit extraction and they use hauling hundred units of equipment.”
Job Lagarda of Ipilan Farmers said: “We are here to support the local government of Brooke’s Point, which has the mandate to take care of the environment.
The one who issued the earlier permit was simply an acting Mayor. We once went to his office and asked what was the basis for giving permit. He did not answer us. There are many requirements that were not complied. For us that was illegal,”
“We are not here just because of our sentiments but because of the truth that this company violates laws. Also, we have policies like the Comprehensive Land Use Plan that stipulates that mining is not suitable here in our place. This was adopted by the DENR. Why was a permit given when this is not part of the local government policies?” he said.
“It’s time we helped our town. Not only are our IP laws being violated, the welfare of the people are also disregarded. So, we have to show the public that we are against mining and that we do not consent to what they are doing,” said Nelson Sombra from Panglima, Brgy. Maasin.
Nolsita Siyang, who is an IP leader of Mga Kalibonan Et BICAMM, likewise said that IP rights, especially concerning the IPRA law, are being violated. “They are mining without our consent. The national government does not listen to us so we are now showing our support to our local leaders who do not want mining in our area.”
Samuel Yayen, Mambalot Irrigators’ Association pointed out that Brooke’s Point is a first class municipality due to agriculture. “We fear that our watershed will be destroyed. Our pond is our life as it supports our livelihoods. There are people relying on us. As residents of Brooke’s Point, we have to stand our ground against mining, which we know will only destroy our natural resources and deprive us of our livelihoods,” he said.