On January 2017, the Sites of Struggles (SOS) Conference of PMPI has conceptualized and affirmed a nationally synchronized anti-mining action.
The National activity aims to integrate a planned anti-mining toxic tour in Mindanao and the fluvial parade Manicani and Homonhon, enveloping other mining-affected communities in Luzon one caravan.
The original objective of the national caravan is to highlight mining-related issues and echo the call to establish small island ecosystems, watersheds areas, ancestral domains, and prime agricultural lands as no-go-zones for mining operations.
SHACKLED. Representatives from communities and development organizations, in solidarity with PMPI staff charged with cyberlibel by Hinatuan Mining Corp., express their support to protect the environment against extractive industries and to uphold the rights of environment and rights defenders in Taguig, Feb 15. In a statement, PMPI calls for justice for the communities hosts to mining operations to serve as lens as the country mulls the DENR's decision to close down 23 mining operations in the Philippines. Further, PMPI welcomes the decision of the DENR Secretary Gina Lopezto suspend 75 MPSAs in the country in favor of the threatened watersheds of communities hosts to these mining agreements.
The State Must Also Exact Accountability from Miners
Ensure the Protection of Environment and Defenders’ Rights
Communities long grieving the vast destruction brought by mining operation in their communities have just seen the light of hope again.
For the first time in history, a government Secretary cared about the water the communities drink over the earnings mining operations may bring in to the government coffers.
On February 14, Sec. Gina Lopez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has scrapped 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) across the country that are within the watershed system.
This is an even greater gift to Filipinos. We, environment and rights defenders, collectively as Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) are delighted that the order coming from the government has been responsive to the needs of the people and of the environment.
Not only Closure and Suspension, Demand Accountability from Miners
As we rejoice over this DENR decision, we hope and pray that the order of closure, cancellation and suspension will be implemented in due time as demanded by justice: justice for areas ravaged by the ill effects of mining operations must be at core of this resolution as the nation mulls the cancellation and closure of these extractive activities.
The result of the mining audits are finally out! The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) declared the closure of twenty-three (23) mining firms, suspension of five, and deferral of one.
For these 28 communities directly impacted by mining, the announcement from the DENR Secretary is a reason for celebration. The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc., (PMPI) rejoices with all the mining affected communities, especially our partners in the Island of Homonhon that after years of struggle, a glimmer of hope has finally arrived. The fear that the remaining patches of forest and vegetation will be totally destroyed will diminish.
PMPI commends the action of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to protect the country’s natural resources. We hope that rehabilitation of the mining affected communities that prioritizes the well-being and needs of people over economic gains will be pursued. We hope that those responsible for the destruction and desecration of our lands shall be held accountable.
We are pleased that the verdict is out!
We now call for the immediate implementation of these orders. The communities and environmental defenders cannot afford to be complacent, until we hear that these mining companies have complied with the DENR suspension and cancellation order.
We now call for rehabilitation of the mine remnants. Mining companies, especially those ordered for closure, should be obliged by the government to start rehabilitation works. We hope that the gaping pits, dead water tributaries, and barren soils will not be simply abandoned and left to the suffering host communities, just like in Marinduque.
The Marcopper operations in Marinduque has stopped, but the people continue to suffer from its impact both human and environmental. We call on Secretary Lopez to take the lead in demanding accountability from these companies. Do not leave the battle for rehabilitation to the people of Marinduque alone. The same holds true for Rapu-rapu.
We are happy that the verdict is out!
But we hope and pray that more mining audits will be conducted and more mining companies will be held accountable. We reiterate our plea to Secretary Lopez to look into the plight of Manicani Island. To declare all small island ecosystem as ‘no-go’ zones for mining. We look forward to a total ban of SMI in Tampakan, South Cotabato, given its magnitude, and that it can become our worst environmental nightmare if it pushes through.
We also appeal to Secretary Lopez to hear the voices of our communities in Kibungan, Benguet expressing their strong opposition against any activity that will alter the physical and ecological makeup of the environment that is giving them life and livelihood. Communities like these are the government’s allies in ensuring the preservation and conservation of the few remaining forest covers we have in the Philippines.
We rejoice that the verdict is out!
And we salute DENR Secretary Gina Lopez for this fearless action. No DENR Secretary has ever achieved this feat. We will continue to engage and be with her in areas of shared vision. We will be vigilant so that the entire DENR machinery follow her lead as this ailing and old structure of DENR has been lacking the political will to protect the natural resources for a long while now. We will keep careful watch over mining companies who are ready to overturn this order. We will forever be vigilant. The fight for the protection of environment and respect for all creation should become our WAY OF LIFE. In this case the modern mantra "There is no Forever" is not true.
The PMPI is a network of development organizations, environmental and rights groups, civil society organizations (CSO) people’s organizations (POs), church/faith-based groups, and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany based in Aachen, Germany.
"Finally, the hauling has stopped. We thought we'll see our island waste away first."
This is one of the sentiments of residents of Manicani, an island several kilometers off the coast of Guiuan town in Eastern Samar upon receiving the news that finally, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has released an order to stop the hauling of ore stockpiles from their island.
GAPING. One of the gullies in barangay Buenavista in the island of Manicani shows where the mining company in the area extracted what have became loads of sitting stockpiles in the area. The stockpiles have been shipped to its buyer in China through hauling operations, which started May this year.
"We are rejoicing that finally, the DENR listened to us and that the MGB has now officially recalled the ore transport permit issued to Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC)," Rebecca Destajo, an official of Protect Manicani Island Society Inc. (PROMISI) said.
Destajo, a councilwoman of a barangay in Manicani, added that they are thankful DENR Sec. Regina Lopez met their group and understood their concerns.
In a one-page letter from the MGB Region 8 with an attached order from the Central Office, OIC Regional Director Raul Laput on August 2 wrote to HMC that the office is recalling all the permits for ore transport and mineral export.
Since Lopez took a seat as its chief, DENR has been conducting a series of audit to existing mining operations in the country in an effort to address the “disturbance of the ecological balance” of mining host communities.
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. National Coordinator Yoly Esguerra welcomed this development and expressed hope that the Government will continue to stand path in its positions against destructive mining.