Statement on the continued inaction of DENR on the issue of large-scale mining in Manicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Manicani, a small island off mainland Guiuan, Eastern Samar, hogged both local and national news when protests erupted anew against the recent endorsement by the local governments of the renewal of large-scale mining on the island.
October 27, 2017 should have marked the end of mining in Manicani with the mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) granted to Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) expiring, thus, ending a quarter of a century of mining operations that have caused deep divisions in the community and man-made environmental destruction. To the dismay of anti-mining groups and residents, the local government units (LGUs) in Manicani and the legislative bodies of the Municipality of Guiuan and the Province of Eastern Samar issued separate resolutions supporting HMC’s application to renew its MPSA covering Manicani.
In July of this year, news of HMC’s plan to renew its MPSA spread causing alarm to the residents who remained opposed to mining in Manicani. Unknown to them, HMC has submitted its application for renewal as early as last year or more than a year before the expiry of its 25-year MPSA due on October 27, 2017. Not long thereafter, the four barangay councils of Manicani issued a resolution supporting HMC’s renewal. This was followed by the Guiuan Sanggunian Bayan’s resolution which also supported HMC’s renewal. Meanwhile the Sanggunian Panlalawigan interposed no objection to the endorsements instead, reaffirmed the same for the perceived economic benefits that the LGUs and communities may reap from the “sustainable and responsible mining as practiced by HMC”.
As a response to the renewed threat to pursue large-scale mining operations in Manicani, Manicani residents under Protect Manicani Island Society (PROMISI) and Save Manicani Movment (SAMAMO) staged protest actions supported by the Diocese of Borongan and support organizations which include the Philippine Miserior Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), Homonhon Environmental Rescuers Organization (HERO), Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) Sanlakas, Bulig Visayas, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA).
At the DENR Regional Office in Tacloban City, Manicani residents have been camping out to express the strongest opposition to the renewal of HMC’s MPSA and the plan to lift the ban on open pit mining. Protests were extended to the DENR Main office due to continued inaction of the whole department.
On the 11th day of camp out of the communities from the island of Manicani and Homonhon along Visayas Avenue and 27th day in Tacloban regional office, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) remains mum on the issue of large-scale mining on the said island.
It is of deep disappointment that the department whose mandate is to protect the environment and the communities that benefit from it does not accommodate or even listen to the call of the people.
We urge DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu to face the community members camping out infront of his office as soon as possible and present us a concrete action that responds to the following demands and calls:
1. Save Manicani from Mining!
2. Stop Mining in Homonhon!
3. Reject the renewal of the HMC MPSA!
4. Island Eco-systems: No Go Zones For Mining!
5. Cancel and stop the issuance of related to mining activities!
6. Moratorium on Large-Scale Mining Now!
7. Issue Executive Order against Open Pit Mining!
8. Cancel the 75 MPSAs and uphold the suspension of 23 mining operations and closure of 5 mines!
9. Enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill Now!
SAVE MANICANI NOW!
BAN OPEN PIT AND LARGE-SCALE MINING!
OUR HOME IS A NO GO ZONE FOR MINING!
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