Mining firm in Palawan faces another stop order

Mining firm in Palawan faces another stop order

/ 05:06 AM October 21, 2023

Mining firm in Palawan faces another stop order

BARRICADE Residents opposing mining operations in Brooke’s Point, Palawan, set up a barricade in April to protest the operation of Ipilan Nickel Corp. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Saying that the Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) continues to defy an existing cease-and-desist order (CDO), the local government of Brooke’s Point municipal is set to serve another stoppage order against the mining firm next week, according to the local officials.

For two months now, INC has refused to acknowledge the first CDO issued by the local government and another order from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the company to stop its operation at Barangay Maasin in the southern Palawan town.


The NCIP earlier issued a CDO against INC citing the company’s failure to secure the necessary Certificate of Precondition (CP) and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), among others. INC, however, disputed this.


In a statement, Vice Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano said antimining residents would accompany local officials in serving the CDO as they condemned the company for its “utter disregard of the first CDO of the LGU (local government unit) and the [NCIP].”

Feliciano said they already placed tarpaulins bearing the announcement of the issuance of a CDO on the premises of INC.

“But the guards just waited for us to leave before tearing down the tarpaulins. The CDO was issued by NCIP and LGU last August,” she said.

By allegedly not complying with the CDO, “INC only shows that it has no respect for the law at all,” the vice mayor stressed, adding that the firm would still be subjected to legal action.

“They (INC) openly defied government legal orders. Because of this, we are reinforcing our order against INC. We are putting up another notice, a second CDO, as we demand that INC immediately stop its illegal mining operations,” Feliciano said.


She added: “Ipilan Nickel should be warned that they will be held accountable for their continued defiance of the LGU and NCIP’s order. The residents of Brooke’s Point will not tolerate the illegal operations of INC, which not only harm our environment and natural resources but continue to threaten people’s livelihoods.”


The Inquirer on Friday tried to reach Michael Bacaser, INC spokesperson, but he did not respond to text messages.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of antimining group Alyansa Tigil Mina, also criticized INC “for disrespecting the authority of NCIP and the LGU” by not complying with the CDO.

“INC is acting like a bully even when it is clearly violating mining laws. If it is unable to abide by the orders of the local government and NCIP, then we highly doubt if it will be compliant with environmental standards and laws governing mining,” Garganera said.

The group described INC’s move as “defiant conduct” that “tells us we must persist in our resistance against destructive mining.”

Lawyer Grizelda Mayo-Anda, executive director of environmental group Environmental Legal Assistance Center, said her group had been supporting the local government of Brooke’s Point in its move to issue another CDO against INC.

‘Damage’ to forest

“On our part, we support the initiative and decisions of the agencies. This is badly needed, particularly because the forests of Brooke’s Point continue to suffer. This is a message not only to the company involved but also to others who want to enter,” she said in a phone interview.

According to Mayo-Anda, they are still waiting for the Supreme Court to issue a temporary environmental protection order after releasing a writ of kalikasan against INC.

A writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy for the protection of one’s right to “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature” under Article II, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution.

Legal battle

“As far as we know, the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) and INC have already submitted their replies [to the writ] so if there are no further decisions, the next step will be a trial and reception of evidence before the Court of Appeals for the complaints of the IPs (indigenous peoples) where they will have to prove their evidence,” she said.

“I just hope the trial can start soon to give all parties concerned time to present their evidence,” Mayo-Anda added.

READ: Brooke’s Point urges DENR to issue cease and desist order vs mining firm

The NCIP said the mining firm was not exempt from submitting the required documentation, including the payment of royalties to affected IP communities based on its Mineral Product Sharing Agreement as mandated by Republic Act No. 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act, and RA No. 8371, or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act.

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But INC claimed the company was exempted from paying royalty for their operations, saying they secured a CP from the NCIP in 2006.

TAGS: Brooke's Point, Government, Mining, order, stop

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