CSO NETWORK SEEKS GOV’T SUPPORT
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.
Fragmented government’s stand
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.