November 16, 2017
DENR, Visayas Ave., Quezon City
Residents of Manicani island led by Protect Manicani Island Society, Inc. (PROMISI) have been struggling for years to fight mining operations in the very small island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Mining in Manicani was suspended in 2002 because of the complaint filed by the Diocese of Borongan related to the reports of violations and conflict in Manicani but the DENR continued to issue permits that allowed the removal of nickel ore stockpiles in Manicani which resulted into protest actions and legal battles including a Cyberlibel case filed by Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) against PMPI for a press release covering one of the protest actions in Manicani. One of the protest actions also led to the death of one local advocate, a mining engineer and imprisonment of two Manicani residents.
Supported by PMPI, PROMISI filed a Petition for Continuing Mandamus against the DENR for its failure to implement the suspension order. Early this year, PROMISI also filed for attempted murder against their perpetrators in one of the protest actions that it conducted.
PMPI also facilitated PROMISI’s submission of petitions against HMC’s application to renew its mining permit. These were submitted to all barangay councils in Manicani, the Sangguniang Bayan of Guiuan, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) both in the regional and central office, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also both at the national and regional office. Even the Diocese of Borongan have submitted petitions for non-renewal of HMC’s mining permit to the same offices mentioned above.
However, despite the petitions submitted, all four barangays in Manicani endorsed HMC’s application for renewal. PROMISI submitted an opposition to the Sangguniang Bayan for the resolution citing irregularities in the processes of the barangay councils. The SB of Guiuan opted to endorse the application also for renewal without due consideration of the opposition from PROMISI. A few weeks later, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar followed suit and endorsed the same application for renewal.
These developments prompted protest actions and media briefings organized by PROMISI, PMPI, and the Diocese of Borongan. Another protest action against the LGUs and DENR were organized by PROMISI, PMPI, Diocese of Borongan and other support groups in the ground – CSGI/LAMRAG, Sanlakas, PMCJ, ATM with support also from
NASSA-Caritas, TFDP, and AMRSP. PROMISI went into a camp-out at the DENR Region 8 office and later travelled to the DENR central office in Manila when they learned that the approval depends on the central office and not the regional office. The Manicani residents arrived last November 10 and are currently camping out in front of the DENR gates.
Spending at least a day with PROMISI is an expression of solidarity and support for PROMISI’s struggle to protect its island from total destruction brought about by mining operations. It can be recalled that Manicani was among those areas badly hit by Typhoon Yolanda and is still recovering at present. It is a very small island yet HMC’s mining contract covers the entire island limiting rehabilitation efforts and island development initiatives being implemented by partners of Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. – Tao Pilipinas, Medical Action Group, INAM, COM, Pecojon, SIBAT, SIKAT. It is also a protected area that forms part of the Guiuan Protected Seascape and Landscape. Furthermore, there are environmental protection mechanisms that include local ordinances banning large scale mining in Eastern Samar and in Manicani island. However, the island remains vulnerable due to threats of mining. While the mining contract expired last October 28, 2017, new mining applications are likely to be filed soon and PROMISI is encamped outside the DENR national office compound to ensure that no more mining applications will be approved.
For more details, please refer to the attached PMPI Statement of Support for no mining in Manicani Island which was also submitted to the DENR and MGB.
Activities for the Day
09:00 am – 10:00am Radio guesting with Veritas of key PROMISI leaders (arranged
10:01 am – 11:00am Misa sa Kampuhan to be officiated by Fr. Pol Yazar 11:01 am – 12:00am Kwentuhan with Manicani campers
12:01 am – 01:30pm Camp picnic
01:31 pm – 03:00pm Health hours with INAM (for confirmation) 03:01 pm – onwards Kantahan sa Kampuhan
PMPI, TFDP, AMRSP