Mindoreños to mount huge rally vs mining on Independence Day
CITY OF CALAPAN—A mammoth multisectoral rally is set to be held in this city on Friday, Independence Day, to protest the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to allow a European nickel company to operate on Mindoro Island.
Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. issued a memorandum on June 9, requiring all officials and employees of the provincial capitol to participate in the June 12 protest.
““Our collective stand will staunchly affirm our fight against large scale mining and our passionate care for the Mother Earth and the environment,” Umali said in the memorandum.
Several civil society organizations are joining the protest, including ABS-CBN’s Bantay Kalikasan. Cybermovement to Stop Mindoro Nickel Project, Rotary Club of Downtown Calapan, and members of the academic and religious sectors.
The DENR last month reinstalled the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of Mindoro Nickel Project of Intex Resources ASA to mine ore in Mindoro even as both provinces of Oriental and Occidental have issued ordinances banning large-scale mining for 25 years.
The DENR said the mining operation, deemed detrimental to the island’s ecosystem, should not proceed if the local governments oppose it.
Among the objections to the project was that the mining site, which covers around 12,000 hectares in the mountainous areas of Victoria town in Oriental Mindoro and Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro, covers a critical watershed area and an ancestral domain.
The ECC was temporarily revoked six years ago as a result of the 10-day hunger strike staged by Mindoreños, including tribal people, religious and local government officials in front of the DENR headquarters in Quezon City.
After learning of the reinstatement of the ECC, Umali, on May 12, issued a “cease and desist order” to Intex Resources Philippines, Inc., stopping it from any exploration, mining and related activities in the province.
On June 4, local officials led by Vice Gov. Humerlito Dolor met with environmentalists and other stakeholders where he pledged the provincial government’s commitment to stop the nickel project, stressing that the provincial government would stand by the 25-year mining moratorium in the province that will end in 2027.
The Oriental Mindoro provincial government imposed a 25-year large scale mining ban through an ordinance it adopted in January 2002. The provincial government of Occidental Mindoro issued a similar ordinance.
The Norway-based Intex on April 9 announced on its website the reinstatement of the ECC for its “world-class” Mindoro nickel project, which the company has described as its “main asset.”
The project is expected to produce 100 to 120 million tons of ore over 15 to 20 years.
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