Palawan: A Tinderbox-An Assessment of Environment and Natural Resource Use (ENR) Conflicts
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Palawan: A Tinderbox-An Assessment of Environment and Natural Resource Use (ENR) Conflicts

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Palawan: A Tinderbox
An Assessment of Environment and Natural Resource Use (ENR) Conflicts

B.C. Bagadion, Jr., E.A. Soriano, G.O. Mendoza, M.V. Leomo
Draft 12.08.07

Palawan…
UNESCO designated “Man and Biosphere Reserve,” home to seven protected areas; two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The last frontier of the country’s distinctive center of biodiversity

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  • Photo taken by Conservation International (May 2006); picture shows road construction made by Platinum Group of Metals Corporation (PGMC) in connection with small scale mining operations in Barangay San Isidro, Municipality of Narra, Province of Palawan
  • Photo by Conservation International shows Mt. Bulanjao Range which covers the municipalities of Bataraza and Rizal, Southern Palawan. This mountain range is being further threatened by mining as there are several mining applications in the area. In fact, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) asserts that its mining claims cover the Bulanjao Range and they are intent in pursuing the expansion of their mining activities. One policy deterrent for RTNMC’s mining expansion is the existing policy in Palawan, the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan (RA 7611) which declares all natural forests as core zones or areas of maximum protection.

Palawan: A Tinderbox-An Assessment of Environment and Natural Resource Use (ENR) Conflicts Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Palawan: A Tinderbox An Assessment of Environment and Natural Resource Use (ENR) Conflicts B.C. Bagadion, Jr., E.A. Soriano, G.O. Mendoza, M.V. Leomo Supported by: Draft 12.08.07
  • 2. Palawan… UNESCO designated “Man and Biosphere Reserve,” home to seven protected areas; two UNESCO World Heritage Sites The last frontier of the country’s distinctive center of biodiversity Puerto Prinsesa Subterranean River National Park Tubbataha Reefs National Park
  • 3. Palawan… UNESCO designated “Man and Biosphere Reserve,” home to seven protected areas; two UNESCO World Heritage Sites The last frontier of the country’s distinctive center of biodiversity El Nido-Taytay Resource Management Protected Area Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary
  • 4. Palawan… UNESCO designated “Man and Biosphere Reserve,” home to seven protected areas; two UNESCO World Heritage Sites The last frontier of the country’s distinctive center of biodiversity Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary Coron Island
  • 5. CENTERS OF PLANT DIVERSITY in the Philippines areas rich in plant species, large number of endemic species, diverse range of habitats. Cox 1988, DENR-UNEP 1997 Fernando et al. (2006) 10 Palawan Island 9 Coron Island 18 Mt Apo Mindanao Island 8 Mt Halcon Mindoro Island* 17 Agusan Marsh Mindanao Island 7 Mt Iraya Batan Island 16 Mt Kitanglad Mindanao Island 6 Mt Isarog Luzon Island 15 Mt Baloy Panay Island* 5 Lobo, Batangas Luzon Island* 14 Mt Talinis + Lake Balinsayao Negros Island* 4 Mt Makiling Luzon Island 13 Mt Kanlaon Negros Island 3 Mt Arayat Luzon Island 12 Mt Guiting-guiting Sibuyan Island 2 Mt Pulag Luzon Island 11 Southern Samar Samar Island 1 Sierra Madre Mountains Luzon Island 7 2 1 6 4 3 11 5 8 12 15 9 10 13 14 16 17 18
  • 6. 128 Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines E.O. 578 Establishing the National Policy on Biological Diversity throughout the country… Sec. 3 …establishment of critical habitats within Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs)… (Credit: Conservation International)
  • 7.
    • KBAs are “sites of global significance for biodiversity conservation, identified using globally standard criteria and thresholds, based on the needs of biodiversity requiring safeguard at the site scale. “
    • Identified for threatened amphibians, mammals, birds, reptiles, and freshwater fish, as well as for restricted-range and congregatory birds, using confirmed locality data for each target species.
    • 51 sites have been identified as Candidate KBAs, or research priorities; if additional data or surveys confirm the presence of target species within these sites, they too will become priorities for conservation action (KBAs).
    • (Credit: Conservation International)
  • 8.  
  • 9. Philippines 88 Conservation Priority Areas for Plants ~ Important Plant Areas Based on presence of endangered species, endemism and taxon richness, habitat diversity, degree of exploration Fernando et al. (2006)
  • 10. PALAWAN’S BIODIVERSITY…
    • 13 species of seagrass recorded in Palawan (81% of the known seagrass species in the country)
    • 31 species of mangroves in Palawan (90% of the known mangrove species in the country)
    • 44,500 hectares of mangrove forests in Palawan (40% of the remaining mangroves in the country)
    • 379 species of corals (82% of the total coral species recorded in the entire country)
    • 89% of total reef fish recorded in the country is found in the corridor
    • 4 of the 5 marine turtles are found in Palawan
    • 15 of the 25 recorded marine mammals are reported from Palawan
    (Credit: Conservation International)
  • 11.
    • 18 species of freshwater fish is found in Palawan (50% endemic to the province)
    • 26 species of amphibians (25% endemic to the country, majority are confined to the corridor
    • 69 species of reptiles found in the corridor (29% are endemic to the country)
    • 279 species of birds (10% are endemic to the country)
    • 34% of bird species are migratory, making the region a vital flyway for migratory birds
    • 58 species of terrestrial mammals are recorded, 19 or 33% are endemic to the country, 16 are restricted to the corridor
    • (Credit: Conservation International)
    PALAWAN’S BIODIVERSITY…
  • 12. Island Ecosystem
    • “ Palawan is composed of a long main island lying in a northeast to southwest axis and surrounding it are clusters of lesser islands…..The main island has a tall steep mountain spine running down its length fringed by narrow coastal plans protected from storm waves by fringing coral reefs and mangrove swamps. Although seemingly lush and bountiful, the environment of Palawan is fragile and its topsoils are relatively thin, poor and prone to erosion.”
    • (Source: Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan, Towards Sustainable Development, Prepared by the Palawan Integrated Area Development Project Office with the assistance of Hunting Technical Services Limited England in association with the Orient Integrated Development Consultants, Inc., Philippines and Sir Mac Donald and Partners, England)
  • 13. Island Ecosystem
    • Physiography and Soils
      • Landscape is dominated by mountain and foothills which cover about 940,450 gectares or 82% of the total area.
      • Foothill and mountain landscapes are characterized by soils of variable depth, more often quite deep, and with excessive external drainage and high erodibility.
      • Its steep topography will render wide areas prone to erosion should their forest cover be removed.
      • The narrow shape of the mainland and the smallness of surrounding islands, will mean that erosion on the upper slopes will immediately and directly silt the coastal areas.
      • (Source: Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan, Towards Sustainable Development, Prepared by the Palawan Integrated Area Development Project Office with the assistance of Hunting Technical Services Limited England in association with the Orient Integrated Development Consultants, Inc., Philippines and Sir Mac Donald and Partners, England)
  • 14.
    • MINERAL POTENTIAL OF PALAWAN
    • Metallic Minerals – nickel, chromite, iron, gold, silver, manganese, etc.
    • Non-Metallic Minerals – marble, limestone, cement raw minerals, silica sand, construction materials, etc.
  • 15. NEAR-COAST AND OFFSHORE RESOURCES Manganese Magnetite Magnetite Magnetite Chromite Chromite Chromite Chromite Gold Gold
    • Philippines offshore area including EEZ is 2.2 million Km 2
    • Placer minerals including gold, chromite, magnetite, silica
    • Potential offshore mineral resources:
    • Aggregate resources (sand & gravel)
    • Manganese nodules/encrustrations with associated copper, gold, zinc, cobalt
    • Offshore Palawan also holds resources of manganese
    • Metal-rich, sea-floor polymetallic sulfide deposits
  • 16. Brewing Tensions
  • 17.
    • Forest biodiversity and watershed protection vs. mining
    • Irrigation water source vs. mining
    • Ancestral domain vs. mining
    In southern Palawan,
  • 18. In the Mt Matalingahan range and surrounding mountains………
    • where 45 of the 60 principal rivers in the south drain,
    • the watershed of seven municipalities,
    • its flora and fauna are unique and of high endemism, and
    • ancestral domain of many IP communities
  • 19.
    • are 122 mining claims covering 371, 951 hectares, 76.6% of which are forested
    • 2 MPSAs in operation and 1 exploration; 2 of these in SEP ECAN core zones.
      • MPSA: Mineral Production Sharing Agreement
      • SEP: Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan
      • ECAN: Environmentally Critical Area Network
  • 20. ECAN Map of southern Palawan with the tenement mining claims
  • 21.  
  • 22. ECAN map of Bataraza
  • 23. ECAN map of Brooke’s Point
  • 24. More mining applications for development and exploration in SEP ECAN restricted and core zones…….. MPSA Applications Covering Southern Palawan Endorsed by the MGB to the PCSDS, as of September 2007
    • *Rounded off **some portions are shared with neighboring municipalities
    • Source: Culled from PCSDS data
    40 6,990 17,637 3 3 S. Espanola 55 10,335 18,812 5 5 Quezon 100 6,167 6,167 2 2 Rizal 73.5 102,745 139,690 23 34 total 92 7,507 8,146 2 3 Narra 94 32,032 34,074 5 10 Brooke’s Point 57 18,739 **32,923 4 5 Bataraza 96 20,975 21,931 2 6 Aborlan Percent of Total * Non-Allowable (has) Total Area (has) No. of Proponents (Companies No. of Projects Municipality
  • 25.  
  • 26. Photo taken by Conservation International (May 2006); picture shows road construction made by Platinum Group of Metals Corporation (PGMC) in connection with small scale mining operations in Barangay San Isidro, Municipality of Narra, Province of Palawan
  • 27. Closer view of PGMC mine site; Photo by Bandillo ng Palawan (August 2007)
  • 28. Portion of the RTNMC mining area and HPP complex showing the adjacent Mt. Bulanjao Range (Photo by Conservation International)
  • 29. Photo (by Conservation International) showing mining operations the foot of Mt. Bulanjao Range. Expansion of mining activities are being pursued in the Bulanjao range which is still covered with old growth and second growth forests.
  • 30.
    • 8 small scale mining projects and 1 MPSA are operating
    • more applications for MPSA (7), small scale (22)
    In Narra town, dubbed as Palawan’s rice granary…..
  • 31. ECAN map of Narra
  • 32.  the associations intake dams built from NIA-loans are affected by the mining project’s siltation pond.  2 farmer irrigation associations opposing; mining area is their watershed;
  • 33. PNNI 2007  Construction of siltation pond, Narra Nickel PNNI 2007  Intake dam of CISA in Narra
  • 34. In northern Palawan……
    • Small island ecological carrying capacity vs. mining
    • Tourism, marine biodiversity protection and mining
  • 35. In Paly Island, off mainland Taytay…..
    • 385 hectares in area
    • 5 small scale mining projects (chromites) covering a total of nearly 100 hectares or one-fourth of the island’s total area were approved.
  • 36. ECAN Map with mining projects of Paly Island
  • 37. In Coron, in the Calamianes group of islands …..
    • a marine protected area
    • a major tourism destination
    • 3 applications for small scale mining and 1 MPSA
  • 38. In offshore Palawan….
    • Energy development and marine biodiversity protection
  • 39.
    • 28* service contracts to explore oil and natural gas around Palawan Island were awarded by the DOE;
    • scientific studies in Australia established the adverse effects of seismic activities within 5-25 nautical miles on marine life, e.g.(fish) larval death
    • *for validation w DOE
  • 40.
            • one service contract (SC 61) overlapped with about 15,655 hectares of the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park, a UNESCO world heritage site
            • 6-7 service contracts are in the Sulu Sea near Tubbataha
  • 41. Tubbataha Reefs National Park
  • 42. Consensus and trust building
  • 43. Different stakes, different positions
    • Polarized stakeholders
    • Climate of distrust
  • 44. Mining Forum…..an opportunity for 3 rd party mediation
    • Shuttle diplomacy
    • Crafting the forum design
  • 45. Mining Forum…Dec 6, 2007
    • MGB, Gov, Vice- Gov, PCSDS ED, BCB(moderator)
  • 46. DENR, MGB….
    • “… responsible mining as engine for national growth and development…”
    MGB director DENR Asst Sec
  • 47. Mining companies….
    • “… mining is not evil, we are trying to be socially and environmentally responsible…”
    Berong Nickel Co CEO
  • 48. LGUs, PCSD
    • “… we want growth but we also need to protect Palawan’s fragile ecosystem…”
    Governor Reyes Vice-Mayor of Brooke’s Point
  • 49. Church
    • “… . respect for life, for the dignity of the human person is the ultimate guiding norm for any sound economic, industrial, scientific progress.”
    Bishop Arigo
  • 50. NGOs, other support groups….
    • “… responsible mining is just rhetoric…experience shows destruction of the environment, continuing poverty of host comunities”
    PNNI Atty Anda / ELAC
  • 51. Host communities…. “… . improvement sin community infrastructure, jobs and livelihood creation, skills trainin g..” IP Representative Farmer Representative
  • 52. Host communities…
    • “… pollution of dam, threat of soil erosion, degradation of soil quality,decrease rice production….”
    • “… divisive, non-release of promised royalty payment, erosion of IPs’ culture..”
    Farmer Representative IP Representative
  • 53. Common ground….
    • SEP ECAN
    • Responsible mining
  • 54. Outcomes…..
    • Governor vowed to push for the President’s formal approval of Mt Matalingahan as protected area.
    • Moratorium for accepting mining applications in Mt Matalingahan.
    • Increase civil society representation in mining project monitoring teams and the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board.
    • Public access to assessment and evaluation reports on mining projects.
    • Release of mining royalty to IPs.
  • 55.
    • Issues for further research
      • Can mining be responsible?
        • Mining companies in Palawan claim they practice responsible mining. One large company is working for its ISO. Other stakeholders however refute the claim with documented evidence to the contrary.
  • 56.
    • Issues for further research
      • Mining Royalty: Boon or Bane to host IP communities?
        • About 90% of the 70 IP communities in Palawan are hosts to mining projects and mining claims. Fourteen million pesos have reportedly been made available to 2 host communities by one mining project. The use of the money is causing tensions between company and communities and among community members. Concern is raised that the money is wrecking havoc on the cultural integrity of the IPs. Cell phones reportedly have been used to buy consent of IP leaders.
  • 57.
    • Issues for further research
      • The Politics of Mining
        • Mayor Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa said “No” to mining till his term ends. Some LGUs welcome it; others have set limits to the number of mining projects they can allow. What underlies the differing positions of the LGUs ?
      • Irrigation vs Mining
        • Farmers are opposing mining projects in their areas (Narra, Brooke’s Pt) because the project threatens their irrigation water supply. Concern is raised of the threat to food (rice) security.