Farmers reap rewards of case vs nickel mining corp in Palawan, but slow

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, (PNA) – After waiting for almost two years, farmers of Barangay Calategas in Narra town, southern Palawan are now reaping the rewards of their case against Narra Nickel Mining and Development Corporation (NNMDC). But the process is slow.

Teofilo Tredez, a farmer and resident of Calategas, said the NNMC is now starting to clean-up the mess it left after it was shut down due to violations that resulted in the destruction of farmlands in the said barangay.

“There was news that came out saying they are operating again. This is not true. What they are actually doing now is, they have started to clean their siltation pond,” he said.

Tredez also said that while it took almost two years for the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to take action on their complaint, they are still happy with it.

But he also added that the clean-up is slow. “What we are worried about now is rainy season is about to begin again. When that time comes, the laterites from the siltation ponds will again be washed down into our farmlands,” Tredez said.

Tredez explained over the weekend to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the siltation pond of the mine consists of 5-series siltation ponds.

“Last February 26, we noticed that they are not even half-way yet with the first pond. So, we are appealing to them to make it faster because rainy season is just around the corner,” he said.

Calategas Farmers Association (CFA) President Danny Cabiguen also said that while a decision had been handed down by the Court regarding their complaint, Narra Nickel filed a motion for reconsideration so the decision cannot yet be implemented. “But their move now is their answer to our letter to the MGB last September 2013,” Cabiguen said.

“And once the order of the court which is to clean-up, restore and rehabilitate the area, we want a composite team from the DENR and other agencies to monitor,” he added.

Because of the motion, Tredez also said that they have yet to receive the payment for exemplary and moral damages.

”The Court ordered them to pay P100,000 for exemplary and another P100,000 for moral damages to each of the 8 farmers,” he said adding that a class-suit which they filed was not recognized.

“This is aside from the litigation fee of P500,000,” he added.

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