After the unfortunate July 17 incident at the DMCI-owned Semirara coal mining site in Antique, Google Earth screenshots of Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique started spreading online. This led the secretariat of the PMPI to check ten other large-scale mining sites in the Philippines over Google Earth and these are what we saw:
1) Marinduque island
Mining companies involved: Marcopper, Placer Dome, Barrick Gold
Minerals: Gold and Copper
Significance: It is the site of the Marcopper Mining Disaster that happened on March 24, 1996: the worst mining disaster in the history of the Philippines.
2) Padcal, Benguet
Mining companies involved: Philex Mining Corporation
Minerals: Gold and Copper
Significance: On Aug. 1, 2012, a tailings dam of Philex in Padcal spilled about 20 million tons of toxic mine wastes into the tributaries of Agno river. Balog creek also flows to San Roque dam, where many communities depend on.
If Marinduque hosts the worst mining disaster, this one is the biggest.
3) Manicani Island, Eastern Samar
Mining companies involved: Hinatuan Mining Corporation, Nickel Asia Corporation
Significance: Manicani island is one of the first areas ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and is considered as a Protected Area by virtue of the Presidential Proclamation 469.
4) Sta. Cruz, Zambales
Mining companies involved: Eramen Minerals, Benguet Nickel, LNL, Zambales Diversified, DMCI
Significance: All the main large-scale mining companies in Sta. Cruz are suspended by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau for violations of environmental laws and policies.
Just like the islanders of Manicani, people from Zambales protest the destruction of this mining operation to the environment.
5) Toledo City, Cebu
Mining companies involved: Carmen Copper, DMCI, Atlas Consolidated
Minerals: Gold and Copper
6) Cauayan and Sipalay, Negros Oriental
Mining companies involved: Maricalum Mining Corporation
Minerals: Gold and Copper
7) Claver, Surigao del Norte
Mining companies involved: Taganito Mining Corporation, Nickel Asia Corporation
Significance: Taganito is the site of the so-called “red mountain” and "chocolate rivers." A mountain fully deforested by mining and logging operations, and rivers thorougly laden with mine waste. The mining sites in these areas are large enough to contain a whole city.
8) Mt. Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte
Mining companies involved: TVI Resource Development
Minerals: Copper and Zinc
Significance: Mount Canatuan is considered as a sacred place in the culture of the Subanons.
Subanons, an indigenous group whose name literally means river people, lived in the mountain since the 17th century. The mountain is gnawed through by the extraction of minerals.
9) Rapu-Rapu island, Albay
Mining companies involved: Rapu-Rapu Minerals Processing, La Fayette Mining
Minerals: Gold and Copper
Significance: The island is situated in an area in the Bicol Region, which is frequented by rare sea turtles and whale sharks locally known as “butanding.”
10) Homonhon island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Mining companies involved: Mt. Sinai Exploration, Cambayas Mining, Emir Mining
Significance: Homonhon island, in historic accounts, is the site of Ferdinand Magellan’s first landing in Asia in March 1521.
After the unfortunate July 17 incident at the DMCI-owned Semirara coal mining site in Antique, Google Earth screenshots of Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique started spreading online. This led the secretariat of the PMPI to check ten other large-scale mining sites in the Philippines over Google Earth. Read more >>
Want to see some of these first hand and blog about it?
Something is to be said when a mining firm intentionally ran over small boats of the fisherfolks of Manicani, for the second time. The first was only last December, with the similar intent: to haul heavy equipment into the island and continue their mining operation.
Jade Badilla, a youth member of Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO), along with other residents was aghast to see the same horror happening again.
“This is our home,” Badilla said. “Strangers are coming over to destroy our humble island home. Isn’t it our right to keep them from doing it?”
Headed by SAMAMO, an organization that promotes the protection of Manicani Island against harmful effects of mining, the residents of Manicani lined up their boats to show their stand against the entrance of mining companies in the island.
“We have done this before,” recounted Badilla. “Using our boats, which we use for our livelihood, we have formed a fence to show that we do not allow Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC), or any other miners to come in destroy our environment.”
Badilla explained how he still cannot understand the persistence of the mining company in running over their rights as residents of
“We have suspension order against the mining company from entering our area,” Badilla explained. “But we are right on not being complacent on simply having the paper because the mining company is resolved in not recognizing our right as inhabitants of this island: as natives of this island. They are back and this time, they are even more insistent.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released a suspension order in 2011, in connection with the complaint filed by the Diocese of Borongan detailing the environmental hazards posed by the operations of HMC. HMC is a subsidiary of Nickel Asia.
“The event only motivates us in being more firm and vigilant to stand against the mining company,” Badilla shared. “Mining will destroy our seas and mountains, kill our fishes, ruin our homes. Our livelihood and environment will be lost if we let them in.”
Badilla a recounted how mining issues have even caused fight among families in their area. He explained that people were mislead to believing this will help the island’s economy. But to their dismay, when HMC started operation in the 1980s, the island has since experienced fishkill, flooding, flashflood and mudslide.
“We almost have nothing left to protect us,” said Badilla. “When typhoon Haiyan passed us, we were almost swept away. HMC destroyed our covers. Floods and mud rushed to our houses. HMC did not even feel the storm’s wrath because what they destroyed was our home.”
Badilla ended his story by asking for the government’s support to protect their island.
“We cannot do this on our own,” he said. “Because the mining company clearly does not recognize our economic, cultural, and social rights, we are seeking the government to help us to permanently ban mining activities from entering and further destroying our home.
GUIAN, EASTERN SAMAR – At least three small fishing boats were destroyed Saturday afternoon when a barge hired by Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) forced their way into the port of Manicani Island of this province.
Residents, led by the Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO), have set up boat barricade in a firm stance to protect their island from mining activities
Skipton Manila, a large barge containing several heavy equipment and machinery for mining operations, was sent by the HMC despite a suspension order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Marcial Somooc, SAMAMO President, said in an interview that no one was hurt because the passengers of the boats ran over by the barge were able to escape on time.
Somooc recalled similar incident in December 2014, when he and another member of SAMAMO were injured in an earlier attempt of the HMC to bring heavy equipment in the area to transport the remaining nickel ores in Manicani.
In a letter sent to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Ed Garingan of civil society network Philippine Misereor Partnership Incorporated (PMPI) calls the attention of the government on the said event, “in consideration of the suspension order to HMC that has been served by DENR since July 13, 2011.”
The DENR suspension order was released in connection with the complaint filed by the Diocese of Borongan detailing the environmental hazards posed by the operations of HMC.
HMC is a subsidiary of Nickel Asia.
In his letter, Garingan also asked the MGB to verify whether they have employees that go by the names Prima Gayas and Florencio Cadavos.
“SAMAMO members observed that it was Gayas who asked them to allow the barge to dock as they have a permit to do it,” said Garingan. “While Cadavos seemed to be the impatient kind as he was heard loudly instructing some people to remove the boats of anti-mining islanders at the port, both Gayas and Cadavos failed to show any document that proves their claims.”
Garingan also stated that they will request for an audience with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as incident happened while members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were in the vicinity. Police force led by a certain Police Inspector Corregidor was reported to be observing nearby during the commotion.
SAMAMO members also reported that some of the armed men assisting HMC are not wearing uniform.
“We fail to understand how a suspended mining company was able to get the support of our police to bring heavy equipment they can use to resume their supposedly suspended operations,” Garingan said in a statement. “Maybe it is connected to the hike of international buying price of nickel last week. One thing is for sure: this is corporate greed in operation. Corporate greed that always fails to respect human rights and the environment.”
The Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) is a network of people’s organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), church/faith-based groups and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany based in Aachen, Germany.
PMPI is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 20, 2004. It is the result of a series of consultations among organizations supported by Misereor which discussed a model of cooperation, coordination and partnership between these Philippine social development organizations and Misereor.
The issues of the Sites of Struggles of PMPI for the anti-mining campaign seem so distant and insignificant to the most of the urban population especially in the National Capital Region. This norm is reflected in many ways, from the low media pick-up on the issues of mining to the small delegation of urban communities in an anti-mining march in the Metro Manila. But the urban population has a big stake in the mining industry and much so to the anti-mining campaign. If they will be reached, oriented, and mobilized, this sector can set new directions on how mining should be done in the country.
Recognizing their potential role in rationalizing the mining in the country, PMPI is launching its new initiative, the “SoS Diaries Project”. The project intends to bring people from any walks of life to the SoS for them to experience how it feels like to be at the center of a mining affected community. In turn, the participants will have to talk or share their experiences in various social media platforms like Facebook and possibly their own blogs. Through this, PMPI aims to reach urban communities who are also mostly reachable in the internet.
Who can apply?
The project is open to men and women, 18 years old and above. Anyone from all walks of life can participate as long as they are interested to visit one of PMPI’s Sites of Struggle and would be willing to share his or her experience on the site through his or her social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, blog and website). Flare to writing is an advantage.
Schedule of visit
The visit to the site is set to happen between August to October 2015 on the proposed date of the visitors and the availability of the community partners. Each of the participants or visitors will stay in the site for at least three days and two nights.