Cover Story


To put an end to exploitation and further damage to nature

May 28, 2024, 1:45 AM
Joyce Kahano-Alpino

Joyce Kahano-Alpino


'There is apprehension as to who will take the risk when certain officials in the country are allegedly connected to at least one of these mining companies?'

Resistance are rendered useless due to "ancient" laws.

Homonhon island mining had successfully gathered the attention of both national and international media. But the fight is still far from over.

What used to be known as a picturesque paradise island, with its breathtaking beaches, clear water, and verdant forests, is a now image of dire exploitation.

Despite the obvious damage that continuously worsens by the day, locals are yet to see the results of their protest efforts to fight for what's left of their island.

25-Year Accord

According to the local government unit (LGU) of Homonhon, Emir Mineral Resources Corp., Chromite King, Inc., Nickelace, Inc., and Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corp. were all granted 25 years to operate. Damage of mining operations in the island started getting notice as early as 1983.

In 2009, the 25-year mineral production sharing agreement specifically allowed Chromite King and Nickelace.

On top of that, an unnamed mining allegedly conducted a public scoping with the intent to also mine nickel in the small island.

Emir Mineral Resources Corp. is allegedly owned by Philip Romualdez, cousin of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Laws Too Lax

However, despite its considerable impact on the environment and the communities affected, the LGU is unable to terminate the contacts.

"Even if may deficiency and usa ka mining company, even if diri hira mag comply, the penalty is only P50,000. And after that they will be asked to comply with the requirements, katapos hito mapadayon na hra," the LGU stated.

As unfortunate as it seems, P50,000 can barely be considered a penalty for mining companies that earn millions every month.

Existing laws against mining are apparently too lax and could barely make a dent against these mining giants.

"Kinahanglan na actually hin bago nga directive it national government para it mga sugad hini nga information para ha mga nag momonitor na communities. Ika duha, kinahanglan istidyuhan hit gobyerno hin maupay it environmental impact system. Kailangan na hiya repasuhon ky it penalties nya hamubo hn duro."

Protected Area

Locals also pointed out that in the case of Homonhon, it should not have been mined in the first place as it is a protected area system since 1994.

"This is a wakeup call for the national government as to what is happening in our protected area, an aton National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) law. Homonhon is not just a protected area but also dako it iya impact ha biodiversity. "

NIPAS law is the policy of the government to secure for the Filipino people of present and future generations the perpetual existence of all native plants and animals through the establishment of a comprehensive system of integrated protected areas within the classification of national park as provided for in the Constitution.

As of now, the LGU admits to still be taking the initial steps and exploring all possible legal actions to put an end to these permits and stop future companies from "exploiting" their island.

Residents are also hoping for any of the policy makers to hear them and start the steps at the national level.

There is apprehension as to who will take the risk when certain officials in the country are allegedly connected to at least one of these mining companies?

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