IMPLEMENT THE SUSPENSION BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
WE, a network of environmental groups, rights movement, faith-based institutions, and people’s organizations have been working in solidarity with small island communities impacted by mining operations, and we should make a headstrong and unyielding stand against hauling activities in the island before it is too late.
We are thankful of the pronouncement of the new Department of Environment and Natural Resources head Sec. Gina Lopez on the controversial mining operation in Manicani, an island off the coast of Guiuan town, Eastern Samar. BUT WE ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE SUSPENSION ORDER should be served to HMC soonest to prevent the mining company from hauling what is left of the island's precious soil.
Raw lateritic soil is exposed at the center of Manicani Island, where a mining company dug for for their ore stockpile
The recent audit by the DENR found that the company may have exceeded as indicated in their interim mining permit, and therefore disturbing the ecological balance of the island. At least 400,000 metric tons of nickel ore has been shipped to China in 8 shipments.
Nickel Asia’s Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) may have been awarded permit to operate in the island of Manicani in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. They have had the right to operate in the island. BUT THE PERMIT HAS LONG BEEN SUSPENDED.
The MPSA will end next year. The permit to transport ore stockpiles does not, in anyway, cancel the suspension order. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources does not have any authority to cancel what its superior agency, the DENR has declared. The provincial leader himself, Gov. Conrado Nicart on May 17 has ordered the operation stop, due to peace and order issues. Now, the new DENR Secretary has joined the calls to stop hauling the islands' ore towards China.
Our network, the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc., has been sued for libel for reporting to the national media what has been occurring in the island. But it is nothing compared to the division the operation have caused to families in the island communities. We, however, remain steadfast in our calls. Now that it cannot be done to restore the original mass of earth hauled from the island, we call on the government agencies, the mining company, and all concerned communities that it is time to start putting back what has been removed from the community: peace, richness of the land to spring crops, healthy coastal and marine resources, and improved relationship among families. The gaping hole of unrest and anger which have all become a public spectacle should be healed. It is time that we focus on the ways forward:
Dear Yolanda and fellows,
I'm answering in copy to the coordination of our Red Iglesias y Minería (Church and Mining Network) active in Latin America in defence of the communities affected by mining operations).
We are very worried about this strategy of mining companies attacking popular movements. You just denounced violations that were happening against the fishermen, and now you are threatened by the violators!
Your strategy of giving visibility to this case and asking for the international support is very important.
We hope that the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace could write a supporting statement, confirming how important you were in witnessing Philippines' mining situation and the communities' resistance during the meeting in Rome, in July 2015.
If you consider important, also Iglesias y Minería Network could write a support statement, sending it to you and publishing in our networks.
Let's keep united in these difficult hours.
May God bless you and your people!
Father Dário Bossi
Iglesias y Minería - Brasil
I agree with sending a solidarity letter from Iglesias y Minería Network.
Iglesias y Minería - Brasil
We will be keeping everyone in our prayers. The pain continues! What a tragic loss of valuable life.
I was wondering if you thought your new President Duterte would also need to be included because he has spoken out strongly on mining abuses.We are watching what is happening with the Lumas indigenous people with another contact.
Yoly, thanks so much for your help.
Our Thoughts and many prayers.
I agree to write a solidarity letter.
We have published a note on our website: https://www.facebook.com/IglesiasyMineria/
It is good to hear from you - not so good to hear of your difficulties. I notice that your list does not include Sister Sheila. It is my understanding that she now works with the Vatican on human rights and mining issues so I will pass your message along to her as well as Father John Rausch from the Appalachians who was with us at the Vatican.
I wonder if the company you are dealing with has ties to Canada. There was also a libel case filed by Taseko Mines in British Columbia over a proposed mine near my home town - Williams Lake. I will attach several links.
The good news is that the environmental group just won the case in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. See the links.
Please pass along my warmest greetings to Father Joy - I have many fond memories of our time in Rome and Assisi.
Peace and strength,
Revolutionary Greetings from PPSS!
You know that, our PPSS also democraticaly fighting against praposed POSCO Steel Plant, Captive Mining, Captive Port and taking water from River last 11 years in Odisha,India.
We condemn to the incident and demand for strong action against that mining company. We offer you all the support and solidarity to your movement and I request you please you can use my name and our organisation name in your praposed statement. We also request you all that this is high time for a very strong movement, network, and campaign required against all mining company globally to defend Human Rights and environment. Thank you all.
Dear friends, brothers and sisters,
We all know the sad realities which we suffer in our countries because of the presence of destructive extractive projects which cause a severe impact on our daily lives such as the destruction of precious ecological systems, political corruption, persecution and repression of communities and their leaders which may even end in deaths.
This reality does not change, the transnational corporations get more and more rigid in their positions and they make use of the judicial systems in order to sue us and to persecute us because we are fighting for a just cause, in defense of life and creation and human dignity. This is why our union and the joint international complaints in search of justice are our most important weapon and power.
In my country - Chile - in the Atacama region, there are huge mining projects in operation, such as the powerful Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold which opened a mine in the mountains and has destroyed three precious glaciers - the source that provides our valley with water. We have been fghting and resisting against these projects for more than 15 years now and have faced the powerful mining corporations, the corruption they cause and we have taken this fight to all the possible forums available with the very few resources that we have. We are about the organize the 12th March against these projects and in defense of our valley, the valley del Huasco. We will march on 23 July in Vallenar, Chile. We ask you to include us in your prayers so that our march will be successful. We also ask you to spread this news among your contacts and to use all the communicational opportunities that are available to spread this message and receive solidarity and support.
We are sending warm greetings, and wish you strength, trust and faith. We will reach justice, protection of life and creation.
All the best,
Juan Guillermo Peñaloza Sierra
Diócesis de Copiapó (Chile)
To whom it may concern:
The signatories to this letter wish to express their solidarity with the Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI), namely with two of their staff and two former staff (Yolanda R. Esguerra, national coordinator, Candy Hidalgo, deputy national coordinator, Edel Garigan, former Anti-Mining- Campaign (AMC) project officer, Victor Morillo, former AMC advocacy officer).
Men work on a mining pit in Fungamwak, one of the coltan mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. © Brockmann / MISEREOR
As participants of a workshop on “Oil and Mining in Africa”, taking place in Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo, from 13 to 17 June 2016, we were informed that all four PMPI staff named above are facing criminal charges for cyber libel under the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012. The charges were filed by the Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC), a company which pursues a controversial mining project in Manicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar which is opposed by PMPI.
Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) is a Philippine company, based in Taguig City. It is a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), a publicly-listed company in the Philippines, based in Taguig City. NAC claims to be the Philippine’s largest producer of lateritic nickel ore and one of the largest in the world. NAC’s principal business involves selling nickel ore to customers from China and Japan.
As part of an anti-mining campaign, PMPI in cooperation with the Catholic Diocese of Borongan supports the local initiative Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO), which opposes the resumption of large scale mining on the island because of its disastrous effects on the environment and the livelihood of the population.
We, the undersigned are deeply worried about accusations by HMC that PMPI made libelous statements on their website regarding an incident which took place on June 20, 2015, when a barge hired by the company destroyed three fisher boats when forcing its way into the port of Manicani Island. PMPI issued several statements condemning the incident. HMC calls parts of these statements lies and malicious. PMPI maintains that their statements are truthful and not libelous.
TAGUIG CITY – Representatives from various rights and faith groups assembled at Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court, Friday, as staff of a civil society organization facing Internet Libel raps voluntarily surrender and file for bail.
Four members of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. Secretariat named by Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) as respondents to a libel case filed for bail after Taguig City prosecutors elevated the case, recommending indictment.
Faith-based institutions, sectoral organizations show their support to PMPI National Coordinator Yoly Esguerra and three other key personnel to the organization’s Anti-Mining Campaign, bringing placards of their organizational advocacies that are relevant to the case.
Representatives of various groups assembled at the the Justice Hall of Taguig City to show their support and bring their calls, as four PMPI key officers file for bail. PMPI faces Internet Libel or E-Libel raps, after the group published a report regarding a mining company's operation amid the suspension of all mining activities in Manicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
E-libel filed by HMC
THE CITY PROSECUTORS of Taguig City passed a resolution recommending that a civil society organization working for the protection of small islands against large-scale mining be indicted for Internet Libel or e-libel.
The charges against Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. was filed by Hintatuan Mining Company for reporting the latter's operation in Manicani Island, part of Guiuan town in the Province of Eastern Samar.
Deputy City Prosecutor Patrick Noel De Dios submitted the resolution to Taguig Prosecutors’ Office, recommending PMPI National Coordinator Yoly Esguerra and three other staff be held responsible. This was approved by City Prosecutor Archimedes Manabat. The complaint was filed last year.
The e-libel complaint stemmed from a press release of PMPI reporting a June 2015 incident, where a barge hired by the mining company to carry its equipment ran over and destroyed small fishing boats barricading the island. Fisherfolks of Manicani island formed a barricade to keep the barge from docking.
While the complaint was recommended to be heard in court, only one of the three counts of Cyber Libel raised by HMC will become the basis for the case.
“The prosecutors consider as libelous the PMPI report regarding the destruction of three fishing boats by the mining company’s barge,” Atty. Macki Maderazo, the PMPI 4’s legal counsel, explained.
He added that they will challenge the part of the resolution that says a mining company cannot be considered a public figure because Philippine jurisprudence and several expert legal opinions have repeatedly asserted that corporations may also fall under the public figure category.
“Just like what we said on our counter-affidavit, we believe that the complaint of the HMC is a form of SLAPP [strategic legal action against public participation] and plain harassment for our organization that is instrumental why HMC’s operations in Manicani Island is suspended until now. It is sad that the prosecutors failed to see that but the fight is not over,” Esguerra said.
HMC’s operations in the island of Manicani have been suspended since 2002 upon the request of the Diocese of Borongan in behalf of Manicani residents, due to the mining operations adverse impact on the environment.
“Acknowledging how powerful and connected the complainants are, we have prepared for the worst. We will not be shocked if a warrant against us will soon be issued and we are ready. In fact, we are elated with the number of lawyers and organizations that have signified their intent to help us in our case,” Esguerra said.
The case filed also named Deputy Coordinator Candy Hidalgo and PMPI's Anti-Mining Campaign team composed of Primo Morillo and Edel Garingan.
Since the early 2000s, PMPI and the Diocese of Borongan have been helping the resistance put up by islanders led by the Protect Manicani Island Society, Inc. (PROMISI) – formerly the Save Manicani Movement (SAMAMO).