A Day at PROMISI’s Kampuhan
“Here in the camp, there’s enough food. We don’t have to worry about work. People come to support us. If only we’re in a comfortable house and not sleeping on a piece of plywood and in a tent, it would have been our dream of a convenient life,” stated one of the campers.
Manicani residents who travelled all the way from Guiuan are currently encamped outside the gates of the DENR demanding Secretary Cimatu to issue a document assuring them that there will be no more mining in their precious island forever. Manicani is a very small island off the coast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar and among the hardest hit by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
As various groups visit the camp daily to express support to the cause of the islanders, Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc (PMPI) together with Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) sponsored a day of fellowship with the islanders that started with a mass, followed by sharing with the campers and singing songs together. They were joined by PMPI’s network members in Metro Manila.
“The Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Hinatuan Mining Company (HMC) has lapsed without getting renewed. PMPI calls the DENR to require HMC to implement rehabilitation works and leave the island for good,” said Yolanda Esguerra, National Coordinator of PMPI. She further expounds that Manicani is a protected area covered by National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and that development work in the island should evolve around conservation and protection of natural resources rather than extraction of resources that destroys the small island’s environment”.
HMC’s MPSA expired last October 28, 2017 without getting renewed. The expired MPSA covers almost the entire island limiting areas for further development after it was hit by typhoon Yolanda.
“We hope that with the expiration of the MPSA, the Certificates of Stewardship (COS) by the residents can now be renewed. Applications for renewal of COS are still pending because the DENR said it’s covered by the MPSA even if the COS were issued ahead of the MPSA,” Ms. Arlene Lusterio, Executive Director of TAO-Pilipinas, Inc. and Co-Convenor of PMPI reiterated.
The land tenurial overlap was discovered when some residents of Manicani were assisted to renew their COS by PMPI in view of the shelter and evacuation component of the integrated island rehabilitation and development program called Project Pagbangon.
While the MPSA has lapsed without getting renewed, and thus forcing HMC to apply for a totally new permit, uncertainties still continue to haunt the island residents opposing mining. They vowed that they would continue their fight. They left their homes and their families to ensure that HMC or any mining company can’t anymore operate or set foot in the island.
PMPI calls on DENR to implement the law by declaring Manicani and other island ecosystem a No Go Zone for mining.