Brooke’s Point LGU firm stance against illegal mining lauded
ATM Press Statement | February 21, 2023
Alyansa Tigil Mina lauded today the firm stance of the local government and residents of Brooke’s Point Palawan against the continued illegal operations of Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC), which has been operating without a Mayor’s Permit, Certificate of Precondition (CP) from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and other necessary requirements.
“The local government and the Brooke’s Point residents currently barricading are demanding the same thing – that the operations of INC immediately stop because of its non-compliance with the law . INC should show respect to the position of the community and the law, instead of forcing its operations in the area, thereby causing harm on the environment and the community,” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator. “INC’s continued operations despite a local government order is a serious affront to the government and people of Brooke’s Point.”
In a letter dated February 20, 2023 addressed to Atty. Michaela Alyssa M. Bundac and Atty. Chiara Marie L. Trinidad, Counsels for INC, Municipal Mayor Cesareo R, Benedito, Jr wrote: “Please be informed that this office has outstanding order to your client, the Ipilan Nickel Corporation, dated February 6, 2023, to stop all its operations effective immediately until such time it has secured the renewal of its Mayor’s Permit for CY-2023 and have complied with all the requirements. Sad to note, Ipilan Nickel Corporation did not heed to undersigned’s order. Instead, it is continuously disrespecting the authority of this office and the local law, specifically, Sec 3A-02 of Sanggunian Bayan Ordinance No 2020-34 or the Revised Revenue Code of the Municipality of Brooke’s Point Palawa that provides that ‘No Business or Trade Undertaking can be lawfully begun or pursued in this municipality without the corresponding Mayor’s Permit’; hence Ipilan Nickel Corporation should not be operating by now, since the validity of its Mayor’s Permit has already cease its validity on December 31, 2022 and therefore, no business operations should have been taking place.”
Aside from having no Mayor’s Permit, INC also has no Certificate Precondition (PC) from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (IPs).
Marlon Tamsi, from the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) and a resident of Brooke’s Point, deplored the attempts of the mining company to stop the barricades and silence the residents from voicing out their protests.
"We are peacefully barricading the area and are ready to prevent the trucks from transporting minerals. We have no choice because Ipilan Nickel is illegally operating and disregarding a just and valid order to stop operations," he said.
"Although Ipilan Nickel Corporation's Mayor's Permit has expired, the company's operations continue", he added.
In sitio Mararag in Brgy. Maasin, mineral ores are still being extracted, while the transport of mineral ores from the extraction area to the mine yard is done in sitio New Panay, in the same barangay.
In Sitio Bora-bora, nickel ores are reportedly transported continuously from mine yard to mine yard, according to some affected indigenous peoples’ reports.
"This demonstrates that the Company is still conducting business and operations in the area despite having insufficient permits," he said.
The mining firm has written a letter dated February 18, 2023 to Mayor Benefito, Jr. requesting for the lifting of a Memorandum that grants permission to the residents to conduct a peaceful assembly. This was dismissed by the Mayor, who just today extended the permit to conduct a peaceful assembly until February 28.
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