The operations of Ipilan Nickel Mining Corporation (INMC) in the southern town of Brooke’s Point remains halted as the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) MIMAROPA withheld the issuance of its permit for lack of necessary endorsements from key authorities.
Engr. Elmer Crisologo, representative from the MGB MIMAROPA of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said Monday that mining operators in Palawan are required to secure at least two endorsements out of three consulting councils.
“‘Yong para sa mga katutubo, Sangguniang Bayan resolution. Bale, kailangan nila ng two out of three endorsement ng mga sanggunian,” Crisologo said.
INMC’s environment compliance certificate (ECC) was allegedly revoked due to non-compliance of the terms set by the DENR and the municipal government, while its mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) has expired in 2017, resulting in a standoff between town mayor Mary Jean Feliciano and the mining operators.
“Na-expire po ‘yong mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) noong 2017 pero bago siya ma-expire, in-applyan nila ng renewal so ‘yong renewal po nando’n naka-binbin sa amin kasi marami pa kaming pinipa-require na permit,” Crisolo added.
In March, local officials led by Feliciano marched towards the gate of INMC in a bid to stop its alleged continued operations where they have met a blockade of security guards.
Subsequently, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 165 in Palawan, through presiding judge Ramon Chito Mendoza, issued a warrant of arrest on March 16 against INMC president Atty. Dante Bravo and resident mine engineer, Engr. Ferdinand Libatique, for violation of Presidential Decree (PD) 705, as amended by Executive Order (EO) 277 and Republic Act (RA) 7161, or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.
INMC has not issued any statement despite multiple attempts for an interview.
(With a report from Jeshyl Guiroy)