Anti-mining group urges resignation of MGB execs
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—An anti-mining group based in Guiuan town, Eastern Samar, is calling for the resignation of officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) in Eastern Visayas.
The Protect Manicani Society (Promisi) claimed that Leonardo Sibbaluca, DENR-Eastern Visayas executive director; and Nonita Caguioa, MGB regional director, did not heed the order of Environment Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez to stop the transport of nickel ore on Manicani Island, off Guiuan town.
Promisi is a group that opposes mining activity in Manicani, an island of more than 2,000 residents.
The Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), which has a mining permit on the island, is in the process of hauling their nickel ore stockpile, which is being opposed by the Promisi.
“We are seeking for the two to resign from their posts because they are not serving our interests but that of HMC. There is already an order from Secretary Lopez to stop the transport and yet Sibbaluca and Caguioa appear not to heed the order,” Marcial Somooc, Promisi president told a news conference on Friday.
The Inquirer tried calling Sibbaluca and Caguioa on their mobile phones but to no avail.
Coquioa earlier said her office allowed the removal of stockpiles because these were of “low quality” and were considered wastes.
She denied that her office was serving the interests of the mining company.
Somooc said that the presence of the HMC on the island is not only posing danger to the environment but also affects personal relationships.
The presence of HMC has divided the residents on the island between those against the mining operation and those in favor.
The group was also seeking for the ouster of MGB national director Leo Jasareno who earlier allowed the HMC, through its mother company Nickel Asia Corp. to dispose its stockpile.
Lopez issued an order last Tuesday directing HMC to stop the transport of nickel ore from Manicani to prevent environment damage caused by excessive soil extraction.
There are about 50,000 metric tons of nickel ore that are said to be transported by the HMC.
HMC started its mining operation on Manicani Island in 1992 but ceased operation a year later when prices of nickel drastically dropped in the world market.
In 2002, then Environment Secretary Heherson Alvarez suspended HMC operations on the island due to its alleged human rights and environmental violations.
Last year, HMC was given a permit by the MGB-8 to transport its stockpile. The mineral was being transported to China. RAM/rga
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