Continued illegal operations of Ipilan Nickel condemned
ATM Press Statement | February 26, 2023
Residents and local government officials of Brooke’s Point condemned the continued operations of Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) despite their clear demand for the mining company to stop its illegal operations.
Marlon Tamsi from Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) said: “Several trucks of Ipilan Nickel are transporting mineral ores from their stockyard and loading them into barges. This is totally unacceptable since the mining company is clearly violating the law.”
Job Lagrada, leader of the demonstrators barricading in the area said ““We call on the DENR to immediately intervene and issue a Cease and Desist Order against INC. It is time that the DENR takes action and hold Ipilan Nickel accountable. We will persist in our protest actions and barricade until national government authorities take the appropriate measures.”
According to Lagrada, Ipilan Nickel has been operating without a Mayor’s Permit and Certificate Precondition (CP) from the National Commission on Indigenous People’s (NCIP).
Brooke’s Point Vice Mayor Jean Feliciano said the continued operations are “highly contemptible and shows the gross disrespect of the company to the law, the local government and the people of Brooke’s Point.”
Meanwhile, Alyansa Tigil Mina supported the call of Mayor Benedito, Jr. for the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order as well as the cancellation of the Mineral Product Sharing Agreement (MPSA). In a letter addressed to DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga dated February 22, 2023, the Mayor implored the DENR to cancel the MPSA and to issue a Cease and Desist Order while the cancellation is pending.
“We fully support the move of Mayor Benedito to ask the DENR to cancel Ipilan Nickel’s MPSA. The Mayor’s appeal is also just in consonance with the demand of the residents of Brooke’s Point currently holding a barricade,” Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said,
In the letter, Mayor Benedito, Jr. said the “INC has been completely disregarding my authority as Local Chief Executive by continuing to operate despite my orders to stop until it has secured the necessary permits. INC also refuses to be transparent and be subjected to inspections by the LGU.”
The letter also said that “INC has been wreaking havoc in the upland and coastal of our municipality. Farmlands inundated by floodwater containing laterite, ancestral domains becoming inaccessible to Indigenous communities gathering non-timber forest products and sacred grounds, coastal lobster farms being covered with silt, an ill-constructed causeway covering a marine protected area with silt.