The Municipal Council of Brooke’s Point is standing its ground not to allow mining applications in the municipality, demanding the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) to revoke the clearance it earlier issued to Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC), and obliging Mayor Cesareo Benedito to revoke the mayor’s permit issued by the previous mayor to the mining company.

In an interview with Palawan News, Vice Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano criticized the agencies that have granted permits to INC.

Feliciano said that letting the mining operation go ahead was a complete abandonment of their job.

“Ang dapat sisihin ay ang mga nasa pamahalaan na dapat nangangalaga ng kalikasan. Hindi lang sila nagkulang kundi iniwan talaga nila ang mandato nila,” she said.

“Unang-una, ang DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources). Bago sana nagbigay ng Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) ay tiningnan muna ang lugar. Iyon kasi ang mahirap na ang nakikita nila ay mapa, hindi ‘yong actual na may watershed, may ilog,” she said.

The former mayor also took a swipe at the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), which granted INC a Certificate of Precondition (CP).

“Isa pa ang NCIP na dapat mangalaga ng karapatan ng katutubo pero itong Ipilan wala itong Certificate of Pre-condition pero sinong nagsabi unang-una na exempted sila? Unang nagsabi ang NCIP mismo,” Feliciano said.

Some tribal leaders from Brooke’s Point said that the consultations held by the NCIP were not done in the right way.

Feliciano also questioned the mandate of the PCSD as an implementing agency of Republic Act 7611, a unique law specifically for Palawan that safeguards sustainable development in the province.

“Ang mandato ng PCSD sana ay sustainable development. Ibig sabihin hindi nauubos at kung ano man ang actual na forest ay dapat mapalawak pa ‘yan ang alam kong mandato ng PCSD. Pero ngayon pinayagan nila ang mga minahan. Ang tanong sustainable ba ito? ‘Yan ang gusto kong tanungin sa PCSD,” she said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.