Lately, facebook posts regarding the issue on Manicani Island, have been spreading throughout the news feed. Needless to say these posts have not discussed some important things as to why this is the current situation on the Island. What’s alarming is that these posts call on for action without even further discussing the matter at hand.
I, together with my organization, went to Manicani last October and December 2015 (yes, we went to all the barangays, San Jose, Banaag, Buenavista and Hamorawon, twice.) In order to assess the situation, not only within the Manicani Island, but also within mainland Guiuan in regards to that of the closed mine and the rehabilitation efforts done by HMC. As we have found out, this issue of ore transfer isn’t new and, contrary to the post, have been approved by most of the inhabitants (Barangay Officials and citizens alike.)
Stockpile Assessment. October 2015.
Stockpile / Orebody Assessment. October 2015.
Groundbreak 2015. UPMINERS. December 2015.
Groundbreak 2015. UPMINERS Team. December 2015
Together with Books for A Cause, books were given to the children in Manicani. Groundbreak 2015.
Let’s shed some light on a few things:
Ore Transfer Permit
The permit for transfer was issued by MGB due to safety and environment reasons. The runoffs from the mine’s stockpile were continuously flowing towards the barangays in the area, posing a threat to the communities’ safety; especially that the area regularly experiences the wet and typhoon seasons. Basically, the permit aims to get rid of these stockpiles in order to avoid and eradicate casualties that would be caused by these runoffs.
Furthermore, these stockpiles also pose a serious threat in terms of the Island’s environment and ecosystems; siltation from the runoffs disturb some of the marine life. Application and execution for the said permit was even opposed by the church in mainland Guiuan as they may have thought of this action as a move for re operation/reopening of the mine.
To clarify, the issuance of the ore transfer permit does not guarantee the reopening of the mine and that the application and execution for permits of reopening are an entirely different matter altogether.
Here’s an official document (PDF from MGB – Region 8) regarding the dialogue between MGB Region 8 and the Anti-mining groups concerning Manicani:
Published also on MGB Region 8’s site:
Is it not the responsibility of HMC to ensure that their surrounding areas are kept safe?
The Manicani Island, situated on the farther east side of Guiuan Eastern Samar, has recieved, none to very little LGU attention. Efforts of island development done by the LGU’s, in terms of basic needs such as healthcare, water, and livelihood have not had any progress in the past years. As for rehabilitation efforts and corporate responsibility done by HMC, so far, they have been complying, providing the needs that have not been provided. Examples of which are houses (after Yolanda), Basketball courts, and many others.
To those who would doubt such actions, these efforts are done because HMC is required by the law to help develop Manicani. But of course, efforts of development are not just the responsibility of the mining company but also of the government and that this also should be put on the spotlight.
Defining Responsible Mining
Mining is necessary. Mining provides us with the metallic materials as to which many of our appliances, buildings, gadgets, medicine, and several others are made of. Needless to say, mining has been beneficial to the human race and in its advancement. The purpose of our questions now, therefore, should not dwell on the “do-we-need-it?” aspect of things, but on the practice and execution of responsible mining; the only way to do it.
The reappearance of this issue gives as a clue that
1) Many of the people, especially in region 8, are not aware of the possibility and need for Responsible Mining.
2) Call for actions such as these posts should have been further evaluated (have provided evidences) before being posted. As it creates a misleading stance towards such topics.
Responsible Mining should be that of having taken in consideration the benefits of mining but at the same time should always aim for the development and rehabilitation of the mined area, the environment, the people, and of course, the country. Responsible Mining should also have the efforts of involving the government in these actions of development because it is also the responsibility of the government to monitor, regulate, and assess these mining activities.
Yesterday (May 16, 2016), in compliance with the DENR- MGB Order, the HMC ore transfer was done. Assuring that the residents would no longer be exposed to safety risks caused by these stockpiles.
James Yap visiting the Island.