Effects of open-pit mining in Manicani Island. Photo courtesy of Candy Hidalgo.
The National Coordinating Council (NCC) of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) welcomes the President’s announcement that he has no intention of heeding the Mining Industry Coordinating Council’s (MICC) recommendation to lift DENR DAO 2017-10 “Banning the open pit method of mining for Copper, Gold, Silver, and complex ores in the country” as published[i] on www.inquirer.net last November 27, 2017.
While the Chamber of Mines continue to harp on open pit mining as an internationally accepted method of mineral ore extraction, it continues to disregard the fact that the Philippines is archipelagic compared to the contiguous continents where such method is being practiced. Open pit mining in very small islands in the country will not only destroy the terrestrial make-up of these islands but negatively impacts the aquatic resources of the country as well.
PMPI calls on Secretary Cimatu to comply with the President’s directive and implement the ban on open pit mining. The issuance of an administrative order that effectively bans mining in Manicani Island concretizes such statement from the President. Manicani Island, after all is classified both a protected area and a small island ecosystem, which under Executive Order 79 are areas that are included in the no-go zones. Prior to its integration into NIPAS, there was also Proclamation 1801 that established Guiuan as a marine reserve and tourism zone. Guiuan is known to have the best fishing belt in the country.
PMPI welcomes the MGB Director’s statement as published[ii] in www.business.inquirer.net that it is unlikely that HMC’s mining permit for its Manicani project will be renewed because of the above legal issues. Following these pronouncements, PMPI sees the disapproval of any or new application for mining permit in the same island and instead strengthen the island’s protection and push for its rehabilitation. The agency’s mandate is to implement such laws and has every right to reject mining permit applications based on the above laws. Furthermore, the DENR must also recognize the existence of a local ordinance that bans large-scale mining in Eastern Samar.
PMPI remains hopeful for its partner community in Manicani, that these pronouncements against the lifting of the ban on open pit mining by the Chief Executive and the MGB Director will finally end a chapter of their long struggle against mining. PMPI prays that the right to a healthful ecology and sustainable island ecosystem will finally be accorded to the residents of Manicani.
RESPECT THE PROTECTED AREAS! NO TO MINING IN MANICANI! NO TO OPEN PIT MINING!