Environment Secretary Lito Atienza on Friday (November 27) yielded to pressure and ordered a temporary revocation of the mining clearance he issued for the Mindoro nickel project of the Norway-based Intex Resources.
The chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) personally handed to the hunger strikers camped outside his office the special order he issued on the 11th day of protest fast staged by Mangyans, priests and environmental activists from Mindoro.
In his order, Atienza said that the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) released on October 14 “is hereby temporarily revoked pending completion of a thorough and impartial investigation that will validate all the allegations.”
The hunger strikers–who are members of the Alyansa Laban sa Mina (Alamin, Alliance Against Mining) and backed by civil society groups, Catholic church and local governments of Mindoro–demanded the immediate revocation of the ECC, citing its adverse impacts on the environment, food security and the ancestral domain claim of the Mangyans.
Atienza also directed the formation of a team of experts that will look into the issues raised by the Mindorenos.
The investigation team will be composed of independent experts to be chosen by the provincial governments of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro and the DENR, said Atienza in his order.
“The investigation team shall also include representatives from civil society organizations and indigenous people’s federation based in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro,” he said.
Atienza said the team has to submit its report and conclusion 15 days after the “completion of the assigned task.”
“The report and conclusion of the investigation team shall be the basis in resolving the issues surrounding the ECC,” he said.
The temporary revocation order was a result of a compromise agreement reached during a closed-door meeting Thursday (November 26) between Atienza and representatives of Alamin—Fr. Edwin Gariguez and Alangan Mangyan leader Librada Isidro—at the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo joined the negotiations.
The hunger strikers ended their protest Friday afternoon following a concelebrated thanksgiving mass officiated by Bishop Pabillo and other members of the clergy at the protest site.
For more information:
Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, ALAMIN, (0919) 8005595, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://earthjedi.blogspot.com/
Jonjon Sarmiento, ALAMIN (0926) 230.32.05
Jaybee Garganera, ATM Coordinator, (0915) 315.37.19
Roslyn Arayata, ATM Policy Officer (0917) 521.7937
Filed under: Press Release Tagged: | Alamin, Alangan, Alyansa Laban sa Mina, Alyansa Tigil Mina, Climate change, DENR, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, ECC, Environment, Environmental Compliance Certificate, Environmental issues, food security, Global warming, Hunger strike, Indigenous people, Lito Atienza, Local Government Code, Mangyan, Mindoro, Mindoro Nickel Project, Mindoro opposition, Mining moratorium, Press Release, Watershed