BORONGAN CITY, July 14, 2017–The clergy of the Diocese of Borongan led by Bishop Crispin Varquez has appealed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deny the issuance of a new Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) in Manicani island, and the renewal of the mining permit of Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC).
The permit of HMC to mine in the island will expire on October 27, this year.
In a letter to Secretary Roy Cimatu, the priests said that they have been calling for the closure of the suspended mining operations of HMC, and the stoppage of the loading of a existing stockpile in Manicani for many years now.
“The eventualities on the mining status in Manicani has not only destroyed the ecosystem but also generated communal feuds and unnecessary tension due to undisputed issues relative to mining… Mining has created and worsened the community division”. the letter said.
Citing existing laws and ordinances, the priests said that it is very clear that HMC violated provisions of their permit, including the over extraction of nickel ore.
There are also allegations of “inappropriate conduct to solicit social acceptability from the community. They said that a permit should have not been given in the first place since Manicani is a protected area and should be closed to mining,
While HMC”s operation has been suspended, there were instances when they were able to ship out stockpiled ore after they were able to secure ore transport permits.
Years of mining operation caused the destruction of the island’s biodiversity and even after mining was suspended, it has not recovered from the damage to the environment, affecting the residents who are mostly fishermen.
It also placed at risk the island’s fragile watershed.
The Borongan clergy has been at the forefront in the campaign to stop mining operations, not only in Manicani but also in Homonhon island. (Eden Cidro/Este News)