STATEMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE EXPANDED NATIONAL INTEGRATED PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM
In recognition of dire need of the country to build more resilient communities and environment to face the adverse impact of climate change and natural disaster, PMPI through its Anti-Mining Campaign support the passage of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) with a few concerns on some provisions.
PMPI and its local partners from various mining-affected communities appreciated the policy that aims to enhance conservation efforts for unique, rare and threatened species of plants and animals and their habitat, thus ensuring the sustainable use of our natural resources and cultural diversity. We also like, more particularly its intent to increase the participation of civil society organizations and communities in the management of the declared protected areas.
As we anticipate the passage of the bill, we would like to appeal to our legislators to ensure that in consistency with the intent of ENIPAS that is to intensify the protection and conservation mechanisms of the protected areas, all existing permits, contracts or agreement entered into by the government for the utilization of natural resources, which are involve in acts prohibited in the protected area like the exploration and extraction of natural resources will NO LONGER BE APPROVED FOR RENEWAL.
On the “Transitory Provision”, it shall be clarified and expanded that not only land-use and resource permits will be subjected for review for consideration of its renewal; specifically it should also include related contracts and agreements on the utilization of the resources inside the protected area.
For PMPI, the immediate application of this bill will be in one of our Sites of Struggles in Eastern Samar, the Island of Manicani in the Municipality of Guiuan. Manicani Island is part of the 1994 Presidential Proclamation No. 469 declaring the Municipality of Guiuan as Protected Landscapes and Seascapes under the National Integrated Protection Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.
Unfortunately, just before the proclamation, in 1992 a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement was issued to a mining company covering almost the entire island. However, up to this time, the project remained at the exploration stage and has not yet secured approval for its Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (Source: letter of MGB to PMPI dated December 7, 2015). The said project was also suspended in November 2002 due to the insistent campaign of Save Manicani Movement, a People’s Organization in the island, with the support from the Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar.
With the suspension of the mining project and its failure to operate fully, and the realities presented by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, we would like to consider the following as good opportunities to assert the protection of the island and implement projects that will serve the purpose of Proclamation 469. We also see that the passage of ENIPAS, in prayers that existing agreement will no longer be renewed, will paved the way to the full protection and sustainable development of the island.