Resumption of mining in Manicani Island hit

THE apparent move of a mining company to continue its mining operations in Eastern Samar’s Manicani Island has met outright resistance from the diocesan clergy of Borongan.

Voicing out the fears and apprehensions of concerned residents, the clergy said allowing mining in Manicani will result to the “wanton destruction of the environment in the island,” citing DENR 2003 siltation report in the area.

In a statement released on October 13, the Borongan clergy led by Bishop Crispin Varquez rapped the obvious attempt of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) to have the suspension of mining operation in the island be lifted that would pave for mineral extraction in Manicani.

“We cannot remain deaf and blind to the excesses of mining while our people suffer the consequences of actions not of their own making,” the statement said.

Mining will destroy agriculture and fisheries, which are the main livelihoods of the people, the clergy said.

With only an area of 1,165.89 hectares and no major source of water except rain water, Manicani communities will be at a disadvantage if mining operations continue, they furthered.

“What is more basic than any right, more basic than the right of mining firms, is the right of the people of Manicani to live safely and peacefully in their own island without the presence of mining which endangers their very lives,” the statement said.

The clergy also raised other issues such as the company’s failure to comply with the condition agreed with the people of Manicani regarding the last loading of mineral stockpile in 2004-05.

The agreement states that: “Immediately after the loading of the 150,000 MT nickel ore, all open pit caused by the mining operations shall be rehabilitated.”

They said compliance to the above condition is necessary at least before any endorsement of the Guiuan Sangguniang Barangay council should be made.

The Guiuan Sangguniang Barangay is currently in the process of formulating a resolution to lift the suspension of mining operation.

So far, the barangay councils of Banaag, Buenavista, Hamorawon and San Jose, all in Manicani Island, have already passed a resolution seeking the same.

HMC failed to assume the responsibilities and consequences relative to mining, the statement said, pointing out that the company left the island even before the expiration of its permit.

The HMC offered to donate P1 million to Borongan diocese, which the bishop declined. CBCPNews

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