Groups dismayed over Atienza response to Mindoreños hunger strike

Oriental Mindoro's Victoria Mayor Alfredo Ortega Jr. speaks during the start of a hunger strike by Mindoreños in front of the Department of Environment of Natural Resources central office in Qezon City on Tuesday, November 17. Photo by Roslyn Arayata/ATM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MANILA, Philippines–Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an advocacy group and a people’s movement composed of more than eighty (80) organizations from mining-affected communities and civil society organizations nationwide, is dismayed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) response to the Mindoreños hunger strike, which is clamoring for the revocation of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to a Norwegian company – Intex Resources’ Mindoro Nickel Project.

On Wednesday (November 18), DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza signed a suspension order on the Intex ECC after the dialogue with the Mindoro contigent composed of the chief executives and local officials of Mindoro, Mangyan tribal leaders, civil society representatives and with the presence of Bishops Broderick Pabillo and Warlito Cajandig held during the second day of the hunger strike.

“The Mindoreños had a dialogue with Secretary Atienza in good faith but upon closer inspection of the signed order, the Mindoreños felt dissatisfied by Secretary Atienza’s response, which merely gave a 90-day suspension to the ECC and failed to reflect accurately the address the issues and agreements during the dialogue such as the call of Mindoro local officials to respect Oriental Mindoro’s 25-year mining moratorium ordinance issued in 2002 prohibiting the entry of all large-scale mining in the province and the presented local resolutions opposing the mining project ,” said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera, belonging to support groups of the Mindoreños.

The Mindoreños also acquired on Wednesday (November 18) a copy of the letter issued by Environmental Impact Assessment Review Committee (EIARC) that recommended an ECC denial on the Mindoro Nickel Project. With the series of dissappointments from the DENR’s actions the Mindoro Hunger Strike being staged in front of the DENR will continue.

“We, in ATM, is dismayed by Secretary Atienza’s obvious bias on Intex Resources over the interest of the people of Mindoro when he ordered a suspension instead of a revocation of the Intex ECC. Despite the lack of social acceptability of the mining project and the EAIRC’s recommended denial of the ECC, Secretary Atienza still signed Intex ECC!”, exclaimed Garganera.

“Secretary Atienza, should be held accountable to this continued tense situation, ATM will continue to provide utmost support to the decision of the Mindoreños to continue with their battle against the unjust actions of the DENR and Intex Resources” concluded Garganera.

The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an advocacy group and a people’s movement that upholds the rights of the present and future Filipinos against the persisting injustices related to mining. ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and PhilDHRRA.

For more information:

Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, ALAMIN, (0919) 8005595, edugariguez@gmail.com, http://earthjedi.blogspot.com/
Jeff Rafa, ALAMIN (0918) 9443561
Jaybee Garganera, ATM Coordinator, (0915) 315.37.19/
Roslyn Arayata, ATM Policy Officer (0917) 521.7937

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8 Responses

  1. Mining in Mindoro will really affect not only the environment but also the health of the Mindoreños. Although I’m only a high school student, caring for the environment is our duty because God created it for us to enrich it and not to destroy it. I will support the government on whatever plans they have to stop the mining project.

    • Hi Alicia, thank you for your feedback. This site however is intended for media and we decided against publishing any comments, for or against what we believe is right for our province. I hope you understand. Anyway, our cyber group has a venue for healthy discussions–the Cybermovement to Stop Mindoro Nickel Project on Facebook. Please join the group if you’re still not a member of it. :)

      Here’s the URL: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=164220269920

      Thanks,

  2. DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, we don’t want money in Mindoro, we want our environment and natural resources protected and preserved!

    • Hi Jun, thank you for your feedback. This site however is intended for media and we decided against publishing any comments, for or against what we believe is right for our province. I hope you understand. Anyway, our cyber group has a venue for healthy discussions–the Cybermovement to Stop Mindoro Nickel Project on Facebook. Please join the group if you’re still not a member of it and the insights that you have about this project. :)

      Here’s the URL: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=164220269920

      Thanks,
      Admin

  3. It is provided in the a law that the National Government shall get the assent of logal government whenever the former would implement a project or program affecting the locals. Now, with such Local Government Resolution and the rallies being conducted against the mining activity, these are clear evidence that such mining activity/operation should and shall not continue.

  4. Atienza’s temporary suspension of the Intex ECC is a political act aimed at parrying the bad press he is getting which might affect his 2010 Manila mayoralty bid. Let us not forget that he awarded the ECC despite EAIRC’s recommendation denying the mining firm’s application. That the same was granted despite the overwhelming opposition to the project of the people of Mindoro; that the same was granted despite several procedural deficiences. Atienza should be denied the seat of Manila. Atienza should be denied any space in the heart of Mindoro, nor should he be welcomed with our hospitality after selling us out.

    • Sec. Lito Atienza: Ignoramus?

      The people of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro were ENRAGE & CONDEMNS DENR Sec. Lito Atienza’s IGNORANCE by saying that he never knew what’s really happening in the Island of Mindoro relative to his “railroaded” issuance of ECC to Intex Resouces for the Mindoro Nickel Project. People’s convention the Brigada Kontra Mina already sent a letter of appeal to the President of the Republic. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dated October 28, 2008 and received by the Office of the President on Dcemeber 23, 2008, enclosed signatures of more or less a thousand of people of the Municipality of Sablayan who expressed their sentiments against mining in Sablayan and the whole Island of Mindoro, attached also the 25 Year Mining Moratorium of the Municipality! Our letter of appeal was then referred to the Mines & Geoscience Bureau and in response a furnished copy dated April 3, 2009, to the Office of the Secretary of the DENR. How could Secretary Atienza alleged that he never knew whats really happening in the Island of Mindoro, or he just walk away from the truth. From the very beginning the so called environmental impact assessment, consultation of the proponent favored their side, but in a way the very institution created under our Constitution to defend the right and welfare of our people was set aside, for maybe his self interest!

      We CONDEMNED Sec. Lito Atienza by not taking notice of the vulnerability of the Island of Mindoro in terms of geohazards, the critical watershed areas within the mining application, the desecration of the indigenous people, the Mangyans and endangering the remaining numbers of endemic Tamaraws! “Ignorance of the law, excuses no one” according to the old adage and our forefathers said “those who have less in life must have more in law”!

      We would like to inform Sec. Atienza that the protest rally held in Manila is NOT PREMATURE, we already do it a long ago, where in fact the mining company started to pose threat to our people and the environment we already prepared for the worse, placing the entire municipality in a 25 years mining moratorium.

      We vowed to fight for our people and the environmental dangers that await us all, the Island of Mindoro fed most of the people in Metro Manila, we call for the REVOCATION of the ECC!

      We CONDEMNED Sec. Lito Atienza’s IGNORANCE, and he’s not EXCUSE!

      REVOKE THE ECC!

      Narumbai Tanggolman
      Brigada Kontra Mina
      Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

  5. I have not heard any case filed in court against Intex and/or DENR/Atienza regarding this issue. I think it’s very timely to file a case in court during such 90-day suspension against the “consortium” of Intex and DENR/Atienza.

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