The Brooke’s Point local government said it will serve another cease and desist order against Ipilan Nickel Corporation next week to reinforce its previous issuance, as well as another order from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for the company to stop operations in Barangay Maasin, Brooke’s Point.

The municipal government will serve the new order, which will be joined by residents who have protested the mining firm’s alleged “utter disregard of the LGU’s first CDO and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).”

Vice-Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano stated that after they placed tarpaulins bearing the announcement of the issuance of a CDO on Ipilan’s property, the guards just waited for them to depart before tearing them down.

The NCIP and the municipal government issued the CDO in August of last year.

“They openly defied government legal orders. Because of this, we are reinforcing our order against INC. We are putting up another notice, a second CDO, as we demand that INC immediately stop its illegal mining operations,” Feliciano said.

“Ipilan Nickel should be warned that they will be held accountable for their continued defiance of the LGU and NCIP’s order. The residents of Brooke’s Point will not tolerate the illegal operations of INC, which not only harms our environment and natural resources but continues to threaten people’s livelihoods,” she added.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, further chastised Ipilan mining for “disregarding the authority of the NCIP and the LGU” by failing to comply with the CDO.

He accused the company of bullying, which is why their alliance must continue to oppose its damaging mining activities.

“INC is acting like a bully even when it is clearly violating mining laws. If it is unable to abide by the orders of the local government and NCIP, then we highly doubt if it will be compliant with environmental standards and laws governing mining. INC’s defiant conduct tells us we must persist in our resistance against destructive mining,” Garganera said.

Meanwhile, Atty. Grizelda Mayo-Anda, executive director of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), stated that the organization supports the Brooke’s Point LGU’s decision.

She further stated that they are still waiting for the Supreme Court to issue a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) after releasing a writ of kalikasan against Ipilan mining.

“Nakakalungkot naman na may CDO pero hindi napapatupad. Dito, makikita natin ang kanilang political will dahil yan naman ang response din sa mga community complaints at mga agam-agam na na tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang operasyon despite the issuance of the CDO,” Mayo-Anda told Palawan News in a telephone interview.

“On our part, we support the initiative and decision of the agencies, this is badly needed particularly because the forests of Brooke’s Point continue to suffer. This is a message not only to the company involved but also to others who want to enter,” she said.

To the best of their knowledge, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the mining company have already submitted their responses to the writ.

She clarified that if no additional decisions are made, the next phase will entail a trial and the reception of evidence before the Court of Appeals. During this stage, the complainants from the IPs will be required to present and substantiate their evidence.

“I just hope the trial can start soon to give all parties concerned to present their evidences,” she added.

NCIP issued a CDO against Ipilan mining, citing its failure to secure the necessary Certificate Precondition (CP) and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).

The NCIP stated that the mining firm is not exempt from submitting the required documentation, including the payment of royalties to affected IP communities, as mandated by Republic Act No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act, and Republic Act No. 8371, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.

However, INC claimed they were exempt from royalty payments for their operations, asserting that they had obtained a Certification Precondition exemption from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in 2006.