Brooke's Point Mayor Cesareo Benedito Jr.

The Ipilan Nickel Corporation has filed a complaint with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) against Mayor Cesareo R. Benedito, Jr. of Brooke’s Point and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) chief Remie Mostiero for failing to grant its certification and business permit without delay.

In a statement to the media, the mining company, a subsidiary of Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc., claimed that Benedito and Mostiero’s “excessive demands and intentional delays” in their business permit renewal are already having an impact on their operations.

According to the company, the local government failed to issue the necessary permits after two months since they have submitted the completed documents.

“We have already submitted much more than what the law requires to renew our business permit. We are respectfully requesting the help of ARTA Director General Hon. Secretary Ernesto V. Perez to step in and order its immediate release,” said Alex Arabis, Resident Mine Manager of Ipilan Nickel.

On January 3, Benedito issued Memorandum Order No. 2023-06 calling on the company to temporarily stop its mining operations after its business permit had expired on December 31.

Ipilan Nickel, however, argues that the Local Government Code and the Brooke’s Point Revised Revenue Code require that business licenses be renewed within the first 20 days of each January.

It further said that the municipal council’s decision to extend the deadline for renewal to January 31 is an acknowledgement of this mandates.

The mining firm asserted that Benedito and Mostiero have asked them for new standards that they are free from, in addition to the basic obligations they had supplied.

Benedito does not have the power, it claimed, to stop an activity contracted out by the national government.

With this setback, the company vowed to continuously be of service to more than 2,500 residents of Brooke’s Point, including hundreds of members of the Palaw’an indigenous peoples community.

The majority of these individuals, in their view, have expressed support for the continued operations of INC and for responsible mining, which includes the development of essential infrastructure like farm-to-market roads, a hydropower plant, and drinking water facilities, as well as socio-civic projects like livelihood programs, healthcare, and education initiatives.

Ipilan Nickel said it is committed to pursue responsible mining and will continue to work with the local and national governments to resolve this issue.