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The Brooke’s Point municipal council has rejected the mining application of Calmia Nickel, Inc. (CNI), citing it lacks basic requirements and falls in conflict with other existing laws and ordinances.

In an interview with Palawan News, municipal councilor Vic Colili, who also sits as the chair of the Committee on Environment, said that the proponent failed to provide a Certificate of Precondition (CP) from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as their Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) falls within an ancestral domain.

“Nireview ‘yan ng committee at ang una namin na hinahanap ay ang CP from NCIP. Yong miminahin kasi nila ay nasa loob ng ancestral domain and base sa batas, lahat ng agency ay pinagbabawalan na magbigay ng anumang kasunduan, lisensya at permit. Ibig sabihin pinagbabawalan na makakuha ng lisensya kung walang CP from NCIP ang proponent. Kasi ‘yon ang basic. Sa madaling salita wala pa silang CP from NCIP,” Colili said.

Colili also cited National Advisory No. 2021-01-008 of the NCIP, which was adopted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Brooke’s Point through Resolution No.2021-49, prohibiting them from endorsing the project unless a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) from the impact community and CP are already in place.

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Colili stated that despite CNI’s assertions that its CP is already underway during the session, their collaboration with NCIP demonstrated otherwise.

“Ang sagot nila ay wala pa ang CP at under deliberation pa or subject for approval pa. Noong nag coordinate tayo sa NCIP at ang sagot sa atin walang CP na naissue. In fact, wala pang deliberation at discussion based doon sa FPIC report ng FPIC team ng NCIP. Kasi nagkaroon na ng FPIC sa dalawang Brgy. Aribungos at Barong-barong,” he said.

CNI proposed to conduct mining of nickel, chromite, iron, and other associated mineral deposits on 1,113.98 hectares of land in Sitio Linao, Brgy. Ipilan as authorized operator of Macroasia Mining Corporation.

Aside from this, Colili also revealed that its mining application also overlaps within restricted zones under the town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), and Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) as well as a watershed area and the Mantalingahan Protected Area Landscape that is protected by existing laws and ordinances.

“Paano kami mag endorse ng application ng Calmia, doon sa existing CLUP ‘yan ay adopted ng zoning ordinance ay nakalagay doon na walang provided na mineral zone. ‘Yong area ng Calmia ay nasa loob sya ng tinatawag na Philanthropia Watershed Area at ito ay mayroong watershed management plan adopted by SB Resolution which mining is not allowed,” he said

“Ang Brooke’s Point ay may Forest Land Use Plan o FLUP, nirequire ng DENR na lahat ng LGU ay magkaroon niyan. Ang Brooke’s Point ay may approved FLUP adopted ng SB Resolution na nagsasabing mining is not allowed. Ngayon ang area ng Calmia ay nasa loob ng FLUP. Ang miminahin nila ay sakop din ng Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL). Kaya bakit mage-endorso ang SB kung ito ay nasa protected area na nasa loob ng munisipyo ng Brooke’s Point,” the councilor added.

Colili concedes that there is still a chance for CNI’s application to be approved. But until the conflicts remain unresolved, he strongly believes that endorsing the project is in violation of their own policies.

“Kailan sila pwede maendorse? Siguro kapag ‘yong mga nabanggit ko na requirements kagaya ng PAMB [Clearance], CP from NCIP at kapag nakuha nila ‘yon ay kailangan din na ipabago muna nila sa LGU Brooke’s Point ang mga existing plan [FLUP, CLUP] and mga ordinances. Kasi kapag hindi nabago ‘yon ay naniniwala ako na hindi dapat mag endorso ang SB dahil tayo mismo ang lalabag sa sarili nating polisiya,” he 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.