A victory motorcade and gathering of anti-mining supporters happened in the town of Brooke’s Point, Palawan, this morning to rally behind the enforcement of the cease-and-desist order (CDO) issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) against the mining operation of Ipilan Nickel Corporation (Ipilan).

The motorcade, which began in Barangay Calasaguen, traversed Barangay Maasin, the site of Ipilan’s mining operations, before heading towards the Poblacion area for a planned event at the Octagon Plaza.

The participants aimed to raise awareness about the purpose of the CDO that was directed towards the mining company. Job Lagrada, one of the organizers, expressed gratitude to everyone who participated in the event and emphasized the importance of united efforts in the ongoing struggle.

“Ang layunin natin na ito ay upang ipabatid sa inyong lahat kung ano ang pakay ng CDO na ito na inilabas sa INC. Salamat sa lahat ng mga nakilahok sa aktibidad na ito sa patuloy ninyong pakikipaglaban at ito na nga nadinig na tayo,” said Lagrada.

Gil Valdestamon, a farmer from Brgy. Aribungos, who supports the anti-mining move, also conveyed a message during the rally.

“Nawa ay malaking tulong ito sa atin, dininig na tayo. Magkaisa pa rin [tayo] para ipagpatuloy pa rin ang ating laban, kailangan nating magkaisa,” he said.

Valdestamon is one of the farmers in the town who are fighting against the operation of Ipilan, believing that it will cause significant destruction in Brooke’s Point.

The claim against Ipilan is that its operation has even encroached upon the Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape.

Vice Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano, a staunch anti-mining advocate, stressed that the journey to uphold the writ of kalikasan and the CDO was just beginning.

She encouraged the youth to join the fight and uphold their voices, sharing her own experience of suspension due to accusations of power abuse. She highlighted the need to persist in the face of adversity and not grant silence to those who act wrongly.

“Ang writ of kalikasan at CDO na ito ay simula pa lang talaga, malayo pa ang paglalakbay na ito, ipaglaban po natin ito. Sa mga kabataan, ipaglaban ninyo ito, natatandaan ninyo ako ay nasuspende, dahil inaboso ko raw ang pagiging mayor ko. Dahil ako ay nag-abuso daw sa aking kapangyarihan,” she said.

“Maganda ang batas pero kung ganito ang pag interpret ng batas, saan pa ako tatakbo? Wala akong ginawa kundi magdasal, every day ang dasal ko [na] huwag silang bigyan ng katahimikan dahil mali ang kanilang ginagawa,” she added.

She also discussed concerns regarding the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), stating that numerous resolutions had been put forth in the past.

She questioned why the mining operations of Ipilan, operating without proper permits and compliance, had not been adequately addressed.

“Yong DENR, MGB, ang dami na naming resolution simula noon pa, ito yong minahan na walang permit, CP, bakit hindi ninyo inaaksyonan?” she asked.

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is the news correspondent for Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan. He also covers some agriculture stories. His interests are with food and technology.