THE MINING CONTROVERSYAND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN           A case study prepared for the        A...
2                                   EXECUTIVE SUMMARY       This case study was conducted by the Environmental Legal Assis...
3    mining issue. Genuine consultative processes with the concerned stakeholders, directly or    indirectly affected by m...
4Introduction        The objective of the research is to map out the conflicts attendant to the mining activitiesin the mu...
5coordination work and mobilization of key respondents. Two SAMMI staff members wereassigned to assist the research team. ...
6        This paper basically focuses on the mining conflict involving key stakeholders (localgovernment units, government...
7                       Table 1: 2005 CBMS Census and Survey of Brooke’s Point         Barangay                           ...
8                               Table 2: Land Area Per Barangay                                                      LAND ...
9         Figure 1 below shows that the municipality is classified into different land uses asfollows: Core Zone/Protected...
10BUFFER ZONES(i) Restricted Use Generally surrounds the core zone Limited and non-consumptiveArea                and prov...
11        London-based Toledo Mining Corporation (TMC), which holds majority interest in theCelestial Nickel Project (CNP)...
12                Table 3: LIST OF APPLICATIONS FOR MPSA AND EXPLORATION PERMITS12                                        ...
13The Proposed Protected Landscape13       The South Palawan Planning Council (SPPC), composed of the municipalities ofSof...
14           of management are all indications of practicality and feasibility for the area to be           protected.    ...
15in mainland Palawan, which showed that Mt. Mantalingahan has two critically endangeredspecies, three endangered species,...
16        LGUs are also mandated by the Code to “share with the National Government theresponsibility in the management an...
17        (4) Arrange, negotiate for, accept donations, grants, gifts, loans, and other        fundings from domestic and ...
18         The PCSD issued SEP Clearances to MacroAsia and INC for their mining explorationactivities.DENR       The DENR ...
19The Municipal ECAN Board       The Municipal ECAN Board was created through Municipal Resolution No. 26, series of1996, ...
20to change its corporate name to Cobertson Holdings Corporation. In November 1995, anotheramendment was done to change it...
21leader of an IP community based on the socio-political system of the indigenous people.Panglima Quirino Tanogan is the P...
22NGOsSamahan Isinusulong ang Kaayusan ng Pamayanan (SIKAP)       SIKAP is an organization of professionals and other conc...
23campaign was undertaken together with Brooke’s Point Network of NGOs, Inc. (BPNNI), anetwork of 23 NGOs, farmers’ organi...
24Overview of the Mining Conflict       Mining activities in Brooke’s Point started in the 1970s when Nippon Mining Compan...
25entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with Sarabat Minerals Philippines to “explore anddevelop into commercial producti...
267611; and (2) for the PCSD to pursue appropriate action/s against Celestial on, among others,their non-compliance with t...
27         On June 24, 2005, MacroAsia was able to secure a SEP Clearance from the PCSD for itsmineral exploration project...
28the person of Atty. Mary Jean Feliciano, a staunch anti-mining advocate and one of the leaders ofSIKAP.Issues and Confli...
29        The indigenous Pala’wan tribe has existing ancestral domain claims covering anapproximate area of 4,600 and 10,0...
30        It should be noted that some of the witnesses subsequently retracted their statements anddenied that there was b...
31        However, the mining companies argue that they are currently operating outside thewatershed areas and their activ...
32stood up against the position taken by the other five Punong Barangays and the Local ChiefExecutive.       Aside from th...
33           purposes.           2. Buffer zone — This area permits regulated use and may be further           subdivided ...
34       Aside from the position taken by the Catholic Church52 on the mining issue, which isanchored not only on environm...
35         While the tension is relatively manageable and the relationship among the differentstakeholders largely remains...
36Council, Barangay Development Councils and Lupon ng Tagapamayapa can be strengthened andutilized in resolving disputes. ...
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN
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THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN

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This case study was conducted by the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) as part of the research component of the program on “Reforming Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) and Mining Governance: Managing Conflicts in Mining Areas” of the Ateneo School of Government, with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, The Asia Foundation, and the United Nations Development Programme. It is one of five case studies conducted in various mining sites around the country to determine the types and sources of mining-related conflicts and assess the needs in relation to conflict management.

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THE MINING CONTROVERSY AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN

  1. 1. THE MINING CONTROVERSYAND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT IN BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN A case study prepared for the Ateneo School of Government by theEnvironmental Legal Assistance Center, Inc. Datu Abdelwin Sangkula Marlon Tamsi Edited by: Atty. Grizelda Mayo-Anda & Dante Dalabajan December 2007 With the Support of:United States Agency for International Development The Asia Foundation United Nations Development Programme
  2. 2. 2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This case study was conducted by the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) aspart of the research component of the program on “Reforming Environment and NaturalResources (ENR) and Mining Governance: Managing Conflicts in Mining Areas” of the AteneoSchool of Government, with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, TheAsia Foundation, and the United Nations Development Programme. It is one of five case studiesconducted in various mining sites around the country to determine the types and sources ofmining-related conflicts and assess the needs in relation to conflict management. This study seeks to look into the conflict that arose as a result of the decision of the localgovernment unit of the Municipality of Brooke’s Point, Province of Palawan to endorse theexploration projects of MacroAsia Corporation and Celestial Nickel Mining ExplorationCorporation/Ipilan Nickel Corporation. It examines the varying positions and interests of keystakeholders with regard to the mining issue, the existing conflict-resolution mechanisms, if any,and the effectiveness of such mechanisms. It also seeks to determine the conflict resolution needsto guide stakeholders and other players in their future endeavors with regards to conflictmanagement. The study makes a review of the mandated responsibilities of several concerned agenciesto determine whether or not the performance of public officials are in accord with their dutiesand responsibilities. Since mining is all about resource and land use, in which severalenvironmental laws serve as the overarching legal framework, a brief discussion of theapplicable laws is made to clarify some legal ambiguities in relation to exploration activities ofthe two large-scale mining companies. To achieve the objectives of this study, the ELAC research team primarily utilized keyinformant interviews and focus group discussions in the data gathering process. The team alsoreviewed existing literature and secondary information, both published and unpublished. The study shows that the haste with which the local authorities endorsed the conduct ofmining exploration activities in Brooke’s Point has sparked divisions and conflict among localstakeholders. The conflict emerged from what seemed to be a deliberate effort on the part of themining companies and the local government officials to circumvent legal requisites concerningsocial acceptability and accountability. Other issues such as the potential socio-cultural andecological impacts of mining activities in the watershed and ancestral domain areas, thelegal/policy issues spawned by the conflicting resource/land uses in the proposed mining sites,and the disregard of the Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) zonation as prescribedby law exacerbated the emerging conflict. The study recommends the following:• To effectively address the latent and emerging conflicts between local stakeholders, both parties should agree to a mutually acceptable and transparent system of dealing with the
  3. 3. 3 mining issue. Genuine consultative processes with the concerned stakeholders, directly or indirectly affected by mining activities, should be undertaken.• Government regulators should strictly implement and monitor the compliance of mining companies to environmental laws and policies, and undertake decisive administrative and/or judicial actions against the offenders and consistently uphold the welfare and interest of the general public.• On the part of the concerned mining companies, the study argues that sincere compliance with all the legal requirements and processes is necessary to avoid the escalation of conflict. In the interest of the general public, the engagements of mining companies with public officials and other interested parties should always be above-board and ensure that the voices of affected communities either opposing or supportive to the mining industry are fairly and objectively heard.• On the part of the affected communities and concerned stakeholders, active involvement in the entire decision-making process should be enhanced by improving their capacity to engage in dialogues, negotiations and conflict resolution. The participation of the local communities is, therefore, critical in any development undertaking to avoid and manage the further escalation of the conflict.
  4. 4. 4Introduction The objective of the research is to map out the conflicts attendant to the mining activitiesin the municipality of Brooke’s Point. To achieve this, an analysis of the parties involved in theconflict, the positions they have assumed, and the standpoint from which their positions comefrom will be made. Factors that facilitate or hinder the resolution of the conflicts will also beexamined. Essentially, the research will look into the dynamics of the relationships among differentsocial actors and the existing conflict-resolution mechanisms, if any, and how these mechanismsare effective in resolving issues and conflicts. Likewise, it shall also determine the conflictresolution needs to guide stakeholders and other players in their future endeavors with regard toconflict management.Methodology The case study primarily utilized key informant interviews (KII) and focus groupdiscussions (FGDs) in the data gathering process. More or less 120 informants, includingbarangay officials, indigenous peoples, farmers (men and women), and non-governmentorganization (NGO) workers and professionals, were interviewed between August 2 andSeptember 10, 2007, using a pre-designed questionnaire. Between July and September 2007, the research team gathered and analyzed thesecondary data provided by Conservation International (CI), the Palawan Council for SustainableDevelopment Staff (PCSDS), the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO) ofBrooke’s Point, and the Brooke’s Point Rural Waterworks and Sanitation Association(BPRWSA). During the latter part of the research period, MacroAsia Corporation (MacroAsia)provided the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) with some news clippings and thecompany’s 2006 Annual Report. During the early part of the research period, ELAC and ASoG sent formal letters to thePCSDS, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Commission onIndigenous Peoples (NCIP), Municipal Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) Boardof Brooke’s Point, and CI to request for relevant data and maps. Letters were also sent to theMunicipal Mayor of Brooke’s Point, Punong Barangays of the six concerned barangays, andother potential key informants. Some documents and studies, including the Evaluation Reports of Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR and PCSDS relating to the operations of Celestial Nickeland Mineral Exploration Corporation (CNMEC) and MacroAsia, were sourced out from theexisting files of ELAC. During the conduct of FGDs in the six barangays, an NGO, the SAMMI Foundation, Inc.,with the assistance of another NGO, World Vision, generously provided support to ELAC in
  5. 5. 5coordination work and mobilization of key respondents. Two SAMMI staff members wereassigned to assist the research team. The data gathered from KIIs and FGDs were then consolidated and analyzed togetherwith the secondary data, based on the research framework jointly developed by ASoG and itsresearch partners during the June 2007 Conflict Mapping Workshop.Scope and Limitations The study covered the Barangays of Calasaguen, Ipilan, Mambalot, Maasin, Barong-Barong and Aribungos, all in the municipality of Brooke’s Point, Palawan. Data-gathering lastedfor almost four months. As anticipated, the active engagement of ELAC in the anti-mining advocacy campaignengendered reluctance among some pro-mining supporters to participate in the case study as keyinformants. As a result, the FGDs and KIs were partly delayed, and in some cases, prospectivekey informants even turned down invitations for interviews despite efforts to explain theobjective of the case study. In other cases, some pro-mining supporters opted not to speakpublicly on their positions regarding the mining conflict. Due to some difficulty in interviewing pro-mining residents, the research team had to relyon the views and perceptions of certain barangay officials and individuals who are generallysupportive of the mining industry in their respective localities.1 On the part of the Ipilan NickelCorporation (INC),2 the research team was advised to secure permission from the company’shead office in Manila as a pre-requisite for an interview. The ASoG also met with an officer of MacroAsia and sent a questionnaire requesting forcertain documents and information on the company. However, the latter was only able to providethe ASOG with news clippings and a copy of its 2006 Annual Report.1 During a courtesy meeting with the Local Chief Executive of Brooke’s Point, together with the Punong Barangaysof the six study sites on July 30, 2007, the Punong Barangays of Maasin, Ipilan and Mambalot declined to beinterviewed. The three (3) barangay officials expressed apprehension that the research will just resurrect a problemwhich they believe they have long settled.In the course of the meeting, wherein the Research Team patiently clarified and explained the rationale andobjective of the case study, one of the Barangay officials even questioned the “motive” of the research and imputedthat ELAC has a “hidden agenda” in conducting the said research. The Punong Barangay of Mambalot pointed outthat they could allow the research to push through in their areas provided that mining issue should not anymore bediscussed.At least two Punong Barangays present during that meeting declined to receive the joint letter of ELAC and ASOG.Aside from Mambalot and Ipilan, FGDs were held with members of the Barangay Councils of Barong-Barong,Aribungos and Maasin. The Punong Barangay of Maasin later allowed a separate FGD among his colleagues in theCouncil.2 Based on the verbal statement of Engr. Gonzales, Geologist of Ipilan Nickel Corporation
  6. 6. 6 This paper basically focuses on the mining conflict involving key stakeholders (localgovernment units, government agencies, civil society organizations, pro- and anti-miningresidents) in the areas where MacroAsia and INC are currently operating. Other potentialconflicts between local stakeholders and mining companies intending or applying to operatewithin and outside the study sites are not included in this paper. Since mining conflict is both social and legal in nature, the study gave particularattention to the perceptions of key stakeholders (pro- and anti-mining), as well as the review andanalysis of the legal precepts correlative to the issue.BackgroundLocation & Biophysical Profile of Brooke’s Point The Municipality of Brooke’s Point is situated in the southeastern portion of mainlandPalawan at a latitude of 8°47’ and longitude of 117°49’. It is bordered by the municipalities ofSofronio Espanola to the north; Bataraza, south; Rizal, west; and Sulu Sea to the east. (Please seemap below.) It is located approximately 192 kilometers away from the City of Puerto Princesa, afour-hour ride by passenger vehicle.
  7. 7. 7 Table 1: 2005 CBMS Census and Survey of Brooke’s Point Barangay Households Population Amas 495 2,081 Aribungos 857 4,322 Barong-Barong 642 3,282 Calasaguen 419 2,088 Imulnod 464 1,915 Ipilan 989 4,789 Maasin 587 2,780 Mainit 537 2,569 Malis 482 2,159 Mambalot 456 2,297 Oring-Oring 311 1,583 Pangobilian 1,362 6,918 Poblacion 1 947 4,672 Poblacion 2 620 2,887 Salogon 635 3,130 Samarinana 551 2,598 Saraza 662 3,321 Tubtub 292 1,418 TOTAL 11,308 54,807Based on the 2005 Census and Survey, the population of Brooke’s Point is 54,807, or 11,308households, with a population density of 69 per square meter. This represents an increase of 20%compared to 57.5 in the year 2000. Of the total population, 29.11% or 15,956 (3,950 households)live in the six mining communities of Calasaquen, Ipilan, Mambalot, Maasin, Barong-Barongand Aribungos (see Table 1). The total population of Brooke’s Point is projected to reach 58,457by the end of 2010, computed based on the population figure of 1995.3 The topography of Brooke’s Point is generally hilly. Of the 85,064.90 hectares total landarea, 63.67% has a slope of 18% and above, and the remaining areas have a slope ranging from0-18%. The six mining barangays constitute around 44.04% or 37,467.50 hectares of the totalland area of the municipality (see Table 2). Based on the Municipal Comprehensive Land Use Plan (2000-2010)4 of the municipality,27,949.67 hectares (or 92.98% of the manipulative/multiple use land) are devoted to agriculturalpurposes and are being utilized for production of major crops. This figure comprises around32.86% of the municipality’s total land area. However, the 2006 Socio-Economic Profile of themunicipality shows a different figure, with only 17.87% or 15,205.21 hectares devoted toagricultural production.53 CLUP of Brooke’s Point as cited in the Socio-Economic Profile, Conservation International, Aug. 2007.4 CLUP, General Land use, page 1615 Socio-Economic Profile CY 2006, Municipality of Brooke’s Point.
  8. 8. 8 Table 2: Land Area Per Barangay LAND AREA BARANGAYS (HAS.) (SQ.KM.)URBAN 254.60 2.55 POBLACION 1 56.20 0.56 POBLACION 2 198.40 1.98RURAL 84,810.30 848.10 AMAS 6,573.10 65.73 ARIBUNGOS 8,624.90 86.25 BARONG-BARONG 1,400.80 14.01 CALASAGUEN 12,121.10 121.21 IMULNOD 6,817.40 68.17 IPILAN 1,157.10 11.57 MAASIN 6,319.40 63.19 MAINIT 9,292.30 92.92 MALIS 4,563.30 45.63 MAMBALOT 7,844.20 78.44 ORING-ORING 1,456.60 14.57 PANGOBILIAN 2,213.90 22.14 SALOGON 7,259.30 72.59 SAMARINANA 4,666.30 46.66 SARAZA 3,941.80 39.42 TUBTUB 558.80 5.59TOTAL 85,064.90 850.65 The CLUP further states that of the 27,949.67 hectares of agricultural land, around20,546.25 hectares or 73.5% are considered to be “prime agricultural land” and therefore, part ofthe Network of Protected Agricultural Areas (NPAAs). These areas are considered as “restrictedfor conversion into non-agricultural uses” under Republic Act 8435, otherwise known as theAgriculture and Fishery Modernization Act (AFMA). In 2006 alone, around 3,873.45 hectares ofrice fields yielded a harvest totaling 13, 313.36 metric tons, or an average production of 2.92metric tons per hectare.66 ibid
  9. 9. 9 Figure 1 below shows that the municipality is classified into different land uses asfollows: Core Zone/Protected Use Forest Land, Buffer Zones (Restricted Use and ControlledUse), Traditional Use Land, Manipulative/Multiple Use Land and Swamps/Mangroves. Figure 1: Existing General Land Uses of Brooke’s Point sw am ps 1% Core Zone 12% Core Zone Multiple Use Restricted Use 36% Restricted Use Controlled Use 22% Traditional Use Multiple Use Traditional Use Controlled Use sw amps 19% 10% These different zones are utilized and managed according to the Environmentally CriticalAreas Network (ECAN) strategy, a graded system of protection and development control overthe whole of Palawan. The definition of and management schemes prescribed for the differentECAN zones, as stated in Section 9 of Republic Act No. 7611 or the Strategic EnvironmentalPlan (SEP) for Palawan Act are summarized below:7 Terrestrial Zones Characteristics ManagementCORE ZONES Included here are all types of This zone shall be fully and strictly natural forest, which include first protected and maintained free of growth forest, residual forest and human disruption. Exceptions, edges of intact forest, areas above however, may be granted to one thousand (1,000) meters traditional uses of tribal elevation, peaks of mountains or communities of these areas for other areas with very steep minimal and soft impact gathering gradients, and endangered habitats of forest species for ceremonial and and habitats of endangered and medicinal purposes. rare species7 Atty. Grizelda Mayo-Anda, etal “The Costs and Benefits of Three Decades of Mining in Rio Tuba, Bataraza,Palawan, 2005, citing RA 7611.
  10. 10. 10BUFFER ZONES(i) Restricted Use Generally surrounds the core zone Limited and non-consumptiveArea and provides a protective barrier. activities may be allowed in this area Encircles and provides the outer Controlled forest extraction, like the(ii) Controlled Use barrier to the core and restricted collecting of minor forest products,Area use area and strictly controlled logging and mining may be allowed. Edges of intact forests where Management and control shall be traditional land use is already carried out with the other(iii) Traditional Use stabilized supporting programs of the SEPAreaMULTIPLE USE This is the area where the Control and management shall be landscape has been modified for strictly integrated with the other different forms of land use such as supporting programs of the SEP and intensive timber extraction, other similar programs of the grazing and pastures, agriculture Government. and infrastructures developmentUnder the law, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is mandated toimplement the ECAN strategy.Mineral Endowments Of the total applications for mining in Southern Palawan (see Status of Mining Claimsattached as Annex A), more than 90% are targeting nickeliferous laterite, which is believed to bea “residually enriched deposit that is usually found in tropical and subtropical regions” likePalawan.8 According to the geological study made by Dr. Jose Almasco,9 the “ultramafic complexand associated volcanic rocks of the Mantalingahan-Pulot Range is part of the greater ophiolitebelt of Palawan that is known to extend from Central Palawan and across the strait to NorthBorneo.” The study further claimed that the “Palawan ophiolite belt is believed to be coeval(contemporary) with other known ophiolite occurrences in the Philippines, which are hosts tosignificant nickel laterite deposits.” Based on the extensive test pitting conducted by Sarabat Mineral Philippines, Inc., asubsidiary company of Mighty Beaut Minerals, Inc., and the metallurgical test work performedby Sheritt International Consultants, Incorporated in 1997, the 2,835.06-hectare property ofCNMEC (also referred to as “Celestial property”) has an estimated resource of approximately“77 million tones with a nickel grade of 1.25% and a cobalt grade of 0.10%.”108 Dr. Jose Almasco, Environmental Work Program, CNMEC, 19979 ibid10 Executive Summary, Pre-Feasibility Study, H.A. Simons Ltd., 1999
  11. 11. 11 London-based Toledo Mining Corporation (TMC), which holds majority interest in theCelestial Nickel Project (CNP) and its affiliates, has stated that it has “defined 60 million tons ofmineralization over a small footprint and it is expected that a similar tonnage of nickel lateritemineralization occurs in the MacroAsia property.”11 TMC co-owns the CNP in Brooke’s Point,Palawan with Celestial Nickel Mining and Exploration Corporation (CNMEC or Celestial),holder of MPSA-017-93-IV, which covers an area of 2,835.06 hectares. What is nickel? Nickel, with a symbol of Ni, is a silvery shiny, metallic element with an atomic number of 28. It can be hammered into thin sheets, which means it is malleable. Nickel, iron and cobalt are the only elements known to be ferro-magnetic. Of the three, nickel is the least magnetic. When all three ferro- magnetic metals are alloyed together, an unusually strong magnet is created. This alloy conducts heat and electricity fairly well, but is not as good a conductor as pure silver or copper. Vital as an alloying constituent of stainless steel, Nickel plays a key role in the chemical and aerospace industries. It is estimated that there is about 140 million tons of nickel available in identified deposits. Eighty-four million tons or 60% of the total available nickel is in laterite deposits. A deposit in which rain and surface water leached nickel-rich rock and concentrated the nickel at or near surface of the Earth is a laterite deposit. Nickel sulfide deposits contain the remaining forty percent (56 million tons). Leading producers of nickel include Australia, Canada, Norway, and Russia. Large reserves are found in Australia, Cuba, New Caledonia, Canada, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Russia.Mining Claims and Applications Aside from the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) areas of MacroAsia andINC, which have an aggregate area of more or less 4,000 hectares, the municipality of Brooke’sPoint has approximately 33 mining claims/applications in the nature of exploration permits,small-scale permits and MPSAs. These mining claims and applications cover around 117,831.30hectares of forestlands - almost the size of the entire Proposed Mantalingahan Range ProtectedLandscape, which encompasses five municipalities (see Table 3).11 Zinnia B. Dela Peña, Philippine Star, September 6, 2007
  12. 12. 12 Table 3: LIST OF APPLICATIONS FOR MPSA AND EXPLORATION PERMITS12 Brooke’s Point, Palawan As of August 2007 Date ofNo. Proponent Type Area Location Application MineralType 1 Blueridge Min. Corp AMA- 3 2,655.00 Brookes Point 11/19/1995 Nickel 2 MacroAsia MPSA-220 1,113.98 Brookes Point 12/1/1995 Nickel 3 MacroAsia MPSA-221 410.00 Brookes Point 12/1/1995 Nickel 4 Celestial MPSA-93 2,895.06 Brookes Point 9/18/1993 Nickel 5 Celestial EPA-33 3,000.00 Brookes Point 9/22/1997 nickel., cobalt 6 Lebach AMA-74 5,427.00 Brookes Point 9/11/1997 nickel. Chromite 7 Celestial AMA-61 4,040.44 Brookes Point 11/28/1995 nickel, cobalt, andesite 8 Celestial AMA-87 2,164.95 Brookes Point 9/30/1997 nickel, cobalt PMPSA- 9 PL Goodman Mining 217 7,938.00 Brookes Point 7/5/1995 andesite, basalt 10 Mt. Peak Mining AMA-4 5,427.00 Brookes Point 12/18/1995 Nickel 11 Galactica AMA-5 6,718.00 Brookes Point 12/18/1995 Nickel 12 Giporlos Mining PMPSA-3 891.00 Brookes Point 6/17/1991 nickel, chromite Newton Const. & Mrkt. PMPSA- 13 Corp 15 5,000.00 Brookes Point 4/13/1992 Nickel Silvermountain 14 Exploration EPA-29 7,375.76 Brookes Point 9/16/1997 nickel, cobalt 15 RT Minerals EPA-99 24.00 Brookes Point 9/26/2006 Nickel nickel, chromite, cobalt, 16 Gandara EPA-110 2,163.00 Brookes Point 10/27/2006 iron Pacific Heights Min. 17 Res. EPA-114 5,896.00 Brookes Point 11/28/2006 nickel, chromite 18 Peregrino Min. Res. EPA-121 3,564.00 Brookes Point 12/6/2006 Nickel Newminco Pacific 19 Mining EPA-124 9,631.00 Brookes Point 12/14/2006 Nickel 20 Shuley Mines EPA-127 4,393.02 Brookes Point 12/22/2005 nickel, chromite 21 Palawan Res. Island EPA-131 2,460.00 Brookes Point 12/29/2006 nickel, chromite 22 Peregrino Min. Res. EPA-132 3,379.30 Brookes Point 1/11/2007 nickel, chromite 23 Peregrino Min. Res. EPA-143 4,262.00 Brookes Point 2/23/2007 nickel, chromite Pacific Heights Min. 24 Res. EPA-145 1,004.00 Brookes Point 2/27/2007 nickel, chromite 25 APC Mining Corp EPA-170 2,787.41 Brookes Point 4/25/2007 nickel, chromite Amalgamated Iron 26 Works EPA-173 3,309.00 Brookes Point 4/30/2007 nickel, chromite 27 APC Mining Corp EPA-174 2,659.19 Brookes Point 4/30/2007 nickel, chromite 28 San Manuel Mining EPA-182 1,690.63 Brookes Point 5/22/2007 nickel, chromite 29 Alcorn Gold Resources EPA-196 4,225.61 Brookes Point 5/14/2007 nickel, chromite 30 Baegil Resources EPA-203 4,779.00 Brookes Point 6/21/2007 nickel, chromite 31 Primo Manlasing EPA-210 1,215.00 Brookes Point 7/3/2007 nickeliferous, chromite Artigiano Mineral 32 Resources EPA-215 1,951.00 Brookes Point 7/16/2007 nickel, chromite Philippine Great 33 Mineral Corp EPA-227 3,381.95 Brookes Point 8/6/2007 nickel, chromite TOTAL: 117,831.30 12 DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau
  13. 13. 13The Proposed Protected Landscape13 The South Palawan Planning Council (SPPC), composed of the municipalities ofSofronio Espanola, Quezon, Bataraza, Rizal and Brooke’s Point, is currently working for thedeclaration of the 120,457-hectare Mt. Mantalingahan Range as a “Protected Landscape,” underthe framework of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and the SEP Law.The council was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 24, series of 2001, issued by Gov. JoelT. Reyes. The municipality of Brooke’s Point is a member of the SPPC. Thirteen (13) of itsbarangays are covered by the proposed Protected Landscape, including the barangays ofCalasaguen, Maasin, Ipilan, Mambalot and Aribungos14. The Mantalingahan Range, the highest mountain in the province with an elevation of2,086 meters, is considered “very high” in terms of biodiversity due to its “varied habitats,” andhas been identified as one of the eleven Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Palawan.15 In March 2006, the Provincial Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA) team wasformed to “determine the suitability or non-suitability of Mt. Mantalingahan as a protected areaunder any of the categories under the NIPAS.”16 After several months of consultations, surveysand studies, the PASA team concluded that Mt. Mantalingahan is highly suitable for integrationto the NIPAS for the following reasons:• Mt. Mantalingahan is a biodiversity rich area which is ecologically important because of the variety of habitats and the presence of rare and endangered wildlife species;• The state of naturalness of Mt. Mantalingahan is observed where approximately 74% of the total area is old growth forest;• Mt. Mantalingahan is the main source of 45 rivers which drain the Mantalingahan range;• Mt. Mantalingahan’s economic importance is exhibited by its existing and potential contribution to the economic well-being of the local communities;• Mt. Mantalingahan is socially important due to its heritage, historical, cultural, traditional, aesthetic, educational, and recreational qualities;• The site has potential for ecotourism and recreational services;• Mt Mantalingahan is scientifically important as a site for research, education and monitoring;• The site’s social and political acceptability as a research location, the extent of community support, accessibility with existing uses and management practices and ease13 A protected landscape is defined as an area with coast and sea, as appropriate, where the interaction of people andnature over time has produced an area with significant aesthetic, ecological and/or cultural value and often with highbiological diversity. Safeguarding the integrity of this traditional interaction is vital to the protection, maintenanceand evolution of such an area. (WCPA, 2003)14 Documentation of Gazettement Process 2005-2007, CI15 Creating a New Protected Area for the Mantalingahan Range Forest, Palawan: Floral Survey, CI, citing Dr. PerryOng, et al. 200216 Special Order of DENR-PENRO Raymundo Crisostomo dated March 20, 2006, Documentation of GazettementProcess, CI
  14. 14. 14 of management are all indications of practicality and feasibility for the area to be protected. The proposed protected area practically covers all areas identified as core and restricteduse zones and portions of controlled use and traditional use zones (see Figure 2 below) under theECAN guidelines. These different zones will be managed according to the Protected AreaManagement Plan (PAMP), which shall be developed and implemented by the differentstakeholders after the issuance of a Presidential Proclamation establishing the protected area. Itsimplementation will also be guided by the implementing rules and regulations of variousenvironmental laws and policies, including the Local Government Code and Indigenous Peoples’Rights Act (IPRA). Figure 2: Map of the Proposed Mantalingahan Range Protected Landscape (Brooke’s Point Area) Of the 120,457 hectares being proposed as protected area, approximately 32,262.15hectares or 26.78 % are located in the municipality of Brooke’s Point.17 A study commissioned by CI-Philippines revealed that several endangered species listedby IUCN (The World Conservation Union) are found around Mt. Mantalingahan Range. Thestudy concluded that there is a high floral diversity and endemism in some parts of the Range,which bolsters the need to, among other reasons, declare Mt. Mantalingahan as a ProtectedLandscape. In 2004, the same group released a faunal study on Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs)17 GIS Map of Proposed Mt. Mantalingan Protected landscape, Conservation International
  15. 15. 15in mainland Palawan, which showed that Mt. Mantalingahan has two critically endangeredspecies, three endangered species, 13 vulnerable species and 20 endemic species. CI is assisting the SPPC in the establishment of Mt. Mantalingahan as a protected area tohelp facilitate the conservation of highly important habitats and wildlife in the Range’s criticalzones.Parties to the Conflict The parties involved in the mining conflict consist of the local government units(municipal and barangay levels), national government agencies (DENR, PCSD), NGOs, people’sorganizations/federations, church groups, and the mining companies. The background, mandates, roles and compositions of each of the concerned parties, aswell as their respective positions and interests with regard to the mining issue are discussedbelow.Local Government Units of Brooke’s Point (Municipal and Barangay) The LGU derives its mandates from the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 in theperformance of its official duties and functions. Section 15 of the Local Government Code of1991 (Republic Act No. 7160) states that: “Every local government unit created or recognized under this Code is a body politic and corporate endowed with powers to be exercised by it in conformity with law. As such, it shall exercise powers as a political subdivision of the National Government and as a corporate entity representing the inhabitants of its territory.” The Code further declares that the Local Government Units shall “enjoy genuine andmeaningful local autonomy” and mandates the State to “ensure the accountabilities of localgovernment units” in the performance of its official duties and functions.18 Nolledo (1992)pointed out that the foregoing provision is an implementation of the provision in Article XI,section 1 of the 1987 Constitution that: “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”18 Republic Act No. 7160, section 2.
  16. 16. 16 LGUs are also mandated by the Code to “share with the National Government theresponsibility in the management and maintenance of ecological balance within the territorialjurisdiction, subject to the provisions of this Code and national policies.”19 The municipal government of Brooke’s Point under the administration of Mayor CesareoBenedito, Jr. and former Vice Mayor Danilo Chan endorsed the exploration activities of INC andMacroAsia.PCSD The PCSD was created by the SEP Law. Section 16 of the Law states: “SEC. 16 Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. - The governance, implementation and policy direction of the Strategic Environmental Plan shall be exercised by the herein created Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), hereinafter referred to as the Council, which shall be under the Office of the President. It shall be composed of the Members of the House of the Representatives representing the province of Palawan, the Deputy Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority, the Undersecretary of Environment and Natural Resources, the Undersecretary for Special Concerns of the Department of Agriculture, the Governor of Palawan, the Mayor of Puerto Princesa City, the President of the Mayors League of Palawan, the President of the Provincial Chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay, the Executive Director of the Palawan council for Sustainable Development Staff as provided in Section 20 of this Act, and such other members from the public or private sectors as the majority of the council may deem necessary.” The PCSD exercises the following powers and functions:, as defined in Section 19 of thislaw, to wit: (1) Formulate plans and policies as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. (2) Coordinate with the local governments to ensure that the latters plans, programs and projects are aligned with the plans, programs and policies of the SEP. (3) Call on any department, bureau, office, agency or instrumentality of the Government, and on private entities and organizations for cooperation and assistance in the performance of its functions.19 See Chapter 1, Section 3 (i) of RA 7160
  17. 17. 17 (4) Arrange, negotiate for, accept donations, grants, gifts, loans, and other fundings from domestic and foreign sources to carry out the activities and purposes of the SEP. (5) Recommend to the Congress of the Philippines such matters that may require legislation in support of the objectives of the SEP. (6) Delegate any or all of its powers and functions to its support staff, as hereinafter provided, except those which by provisions of law cannot be delegated; (7) Establish policies and guidelines for employment on the basis of merit, technical competence and moral character and prescribe a compensation and staffing pattern; (8) Adopt, amend and rescind such rules and regulations and impose penalties therefore for the effective implementation of the SEP and the other provisions of this Act. (9) Enforce the provisions of this Act and other existing laws. Rules and regulations similar to or complementary with this Act; (10) Perform related functions which shall promote the development, conservation, management, protection, and utilization of the natural resources of Palawan; and (11) Perform such other powers and functions as may be necessary in carrying out its functions, powers, and the provisions of this Act.20 As a policy-making body, PCSD is guided by the principle of sustainable development,which is defined as “the improvement in the quality of life of its people in the present and futuregenerations through the use of complementary activities of development and conservation thatprotect life-support ecosystem and rehabilitate exploited areas to allow upcoming generations tosustain development growth.”21 Under PCSD Administrative Order No. 6 series of 2000, permits, licenses or similarinstruments must have prior clearance from PCSD.22 The SEP Clearance is, therefore, a pre-requisite to any development project or program in the province.20 Republic Act 7611, section 19.21 Id. at section 5.22 Section 11. Issuance of Clearance by the PCSD. Subject to the final review of the PCSD, the recommendationof the PCSDS may be affirmed or controverted. In any case, the PCSD through its Chairman shall issue either of thefollowing form of clearance depending upon the type of project: (1) an authorization for the DENR to proceed withthe processing of the ECC, processing of the certificate of non-coverage, permits, licenses, lease agreements andother similar instruments being issued by DENR; (2) a letter of accreditation and prior informed consent
  18. 18. 18 The PCSD issued SEP Clearances to MacroAsia and INC for their mining explorationactivities.DENR The DENR was created by Executive Order No. 192 issued on June 10, 1987. The orderprovided for the reorganization of Department of Environment, Energy and Natural Resourcesand renamed it as the DENR. The Department is mandated to be “the primary agency responsible for the conservation,management, development, and proper use of the country’s environment and natural resources.”It has the following objectives: (1) Assure the availability and sustainability of the countrys natural resources through judicious use and systematic restoration or replacement, whenever possible; (2) Increase the productivity of natural resources in order to meet the demands for forest, mineral, and land resources of a growing population; (3) Enhance the contribution of natural resources for achieving national economic and social development; (4) Promote equitable access to natural resources by the different sectors of the population; and (5)Conserve specific terrestrial and marine areas representative of the Philippine natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations. The Department issued the MPSAs of MacroAsia and INC and approved their respectiveexploration permits.certification; or (3) letter of denial. The authorization together with the evaluation reports shall be submitted to theDENR (through the PENRO) as bases for the latter´s subsequent processing of the aforementioned issuances. On theother hand, the accreditation and prior informed consent certificate shall be given to the proponent. If the project isdenied, a letter of denial shall be sent to the proponent informing him of the reason for denial. The proponent maysubmit to PCSD a written appeal for reconsideration. If the appeal in reversed, the PCSD shall issue either theaforementioned authorization or letter of accreditation and prior informed consent. The decision of the PCSD onappeal shall be considered final and executory.Section 12. Issuance of Permit, Licenses, ECC´s, Lease Agreements, and Other Similar Instruments. Uponreceipt of the authorization issued by the PCSD, the DENR shall either proceed with the processing of the ECC,issue a certification of non-coverage, permit, license, lease agreements or other similar instruments depending uponthe instrument being secured by the proponent.
  19. 19. 19The Municipal ECAN Board The Municipal ECAN Board was created through Municipal Resolution No. 26, series of1996, in compliance of Section 37, Chapter II, Title 3 of the Revised ECAN Guidelines of thePCSD. The Board is a multi-sectoral policy-making, implementing and coordinating body of themunicipality, intended to promote the management of the environment and natural resourcesunder the SEP and other pertinent laws and guidelines. Among its key functions are the following: (1) facilitate the local implementation ofPCSD Resolutions and Administrative Orders related to the implementation of ECANGuidelines and other pertinent rules, regulations and issuances, (2) initiate the passage ofresolutions, municipal/barangay ordinances and regulatory measures to implement ECAN andenforce the ECAN Zoning Plan, (3) review proposed and existing projects in the light of ECANtargets and objectives, (4) harness the participation of line agencies, NGOs and the communitiestowards the attainment of ECAN objectives, and enhance the capability of environmental bodiesand related offices, among others.23 On July 11, 2007, the Local Chief Executive issued Executive Order No. 07, Series of2007, reorganizing the ECAN Board and delegating the chairmanship to the Municipal ViceMayor. The current ECAN Board under the chairmanship of the Vice Mayor is calling for a “10-year moratorium on mining”24 in Brooke’s Point. The leadership of the Board believes that themining industry should first prove whether “responsible mining” is indeed an attainableproposition.Mining CompaniesMacroAsia Corporation MacroAsia was incorporated in the Philippines on February 16, 1970, originally underthe name Infanta Mineral & Industrial Corporation, to engage in the business of geologicalexploration and development. As a mining firm, it had actually mined its leased areas inBrooke’s Point in the 1970’s. The corporation amended its Articles of Incorporation on twooccasions. In January 1994, an amendment was made to change its primary purpose fromgeological exploration and development to engaging in the business of a holding company, and23 See Resolution No. 26 series of 199624 The Chair of the ECAN Board is the Municipal Vice Mayor, Atty. Mary Jean Feliciano, who ran on anti-miningagenda and is proposing a moratorium on mining in Brooke’s Point.
  20. 20. 20to change its corporate name to Cobertson Holdings Corporation. In November 1995, anotheramendment was done to change its corporate name to its present name. On March 28, 2006, MacroAsia received from the government a Mineral ProductionSharing Agreement (MPSA) covering 1,113.9836 hectares in Brooke’s Point, the same area thatused to be mined by Infanta in the 1970s.25 The company is currently undertaking explorationactivity in Barangays Ipilan, Mambalot and Maasin.26 As of 2007, the company reported that it has already “collected a total of 3,348 meters ofdrill core samples based on its core drilling and test pitting over an area of approximately 300hectares.”27CNMEC (now operated by INC) CNMEC is the holder of MPSA-017-93-IV, granted on August 5, 1993 and amended onApril 10, 2000. The MPSA covers an area of 2,835.06 hectares situated in Barangays Ipilan andMaasin. It started its mining exploration in 1993. The CNMEC nickel laterite property is now currently being operated by INC, a companypartly owned by London-based Toledo Mining Corporation (TMC). INC was incorporated andregistered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on July 22, 2005 and itsprincipal activity is to explore, develop and mine the Celestial/Ipilan mineral properties.28 TMC has entered into a memorandum of understanding with MacroAsia, to enable bothcorporations to jointly “undertake studies that will cover possible collaboration in minedevelopment and on-site value-added processing”29 in the two properties.Indigenous PeoplesSamahan ng mga Panglima (Panglima Assembly) The Panglima Assembly was organized sometime in 2005 when mining became aprominent issue. The Assembly was originally composed of more than 40 Panglimas (traditionalleaders), but has since increased its membership to more than 70. Panglimas exist in 15 out ofthe 18 barangays of Brooke’s Point. Membership in the Assembly is exclusive to indigenous Pala’wan leaders or elders whohave royal lineage according to their traditions. The Panglima is traditionally the recognized25 MacroAsia Corporation 2006 Annual Report.26 Based on the document provided by MacroAsia on the list of direct impact stakeholders in Brooke’s Point,Palawan27 ibid28 http://www.minesite.com/companies/comp_single/company/toledo-mining-corp-plc.html29 ibid
  21. 21. 21leader of an IP community based on the socio-political system of the indigenous people.Panglima Quirino Tanogan is the Pangarapan or the overall convenor of the Assembly. The Assembly is at the forefront in the fight against large-scale mining in themunicipality of Brooke’s Point and meets regularly to discuss issues and concerns confrontingthe indigenous people of Brooke’s Point.Brooke’s Point Federation of Tribal Councils (BROFETRICS) BROFETRICS is the federation of all tribal chieftains30 in the municipality and coversaround 18 groups. It was organized by the NCIP sometime in 2000. The Federation is activelysupporting the mining projects in the municipality and has been involved in the promotion ofmining among the indigenous peoples’ communities throughout the municipality. Ms. RenilaDulay is the Chairperson of the federation and Mr. Juanito Lacubtan serves as the Adviser.IP Communities Some IP communities within and around the mining impact areas are supportive of themining exploration, while others are against. The OIPAPI, an indigenous people’s organization based in Bgy. Aribungos, led theindigenous Pala’wan in rejecting the mining exploration of MacroAsia in their areas. Majority ofthe indigenous people in Aribungos voted “No” during the FPIC process. In Maasin, the Kabiagan Katutubo Lupaing Ninuno Association, Inc. (KKLNA) has beenactively opposing the mining operations of MacroAsia and INC. However, some of its membershave already been engaged in contractual work (manual labor) by the mining companies andsince then, have become inactive in anti-mining campaigns. Aside from Aribungos, all IP communities inside the mining impact zones of MacroAsiaand INC voted “Yes” in the FPIC process thus, endorsing the mining exploration.30 Tribal chieftains are usually appointed by NCIP and not necessarily according to the cultural traditions of theconcerned indigenous people. In the exercise of its political power over an IP community, the tribal chieftains areactually performing and duplicating the traditionally held political functions of the panglima.
  22. 22. 22NGOsSamahan Isinusulong ang Kaayusan ng Pamayanan (SIKAP) SIKAP is an organization of professionals and other concerned citizens of Brooke’s Pointorganized sometime in 2005. It was formed primarily as an anti-corruption watchdog and itsadvocacy was focused on corruption issues in the municipal government, such as theinvolvement of some local officials in illegal logging activities. It is the convenor of the Allianceon Good Governance, a loose coalition composed of NGOs, farmers’ organizations, indigenouspeoples’ organizations, church groups and other professionals, and advocating for transparencyand accountability in local governance. SIKAP stood against the controversial LGU endorsement of the proposed miningactivities of MacroAsia and INC and has been involved in several actions on anti-miningadvocacy.SAMMI Foundation, Inc. SAMMI Foundation was organized in 1987 and registered with the SEC in January 1990.Originally, it was composed of farmers from Mainit and Imulnod. In 2000, SAMMI becameactively engaged in the campaign against the establishment of the Hydrometallurgical ProcessingPlant (HPP) in Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan. It has been actively involved in the anti-miningcampaign in Brooke’s Point since the time of CNMEC’s exploration activity in Ipilan andMaasin in the late 1990s. Its anti-mining advocacy was triggered by SAMMI’s campaign on theprotection of the children’s rights to a healthy ecology. Currently, SAMMI has more than 900 beneficiary families in eight (8) barangays ofBrooke’s Point for its “Tabod it Arap” (Spring of Hope) Project, a transformative developmentprogram introduced by its partner, World Vision.World Vision World Vision (WV) started its project in Brooke’s Point, Palawan in 1983. Its programstarted with child care, and evolved into family care and, eventually, community development. As early as mid-1990s, WV and its partner-beneficiaries have been discussing the miningissue. Mining has become part of the regular agenda of its children-beneficiaries during thelatter’s annual congresses. In 2002, WV intensified its anti-mining advocacy in Brooke’s Pointwhen Coral Bay Nickel Corporation started its HPP operation in Bataraza, Palawan. Its
  23. 23. 23campaign was undertaken together with Brooke’s Point Network of NGOs, Inc. (BPNNI), anetwork of 23 NGOs, farmers’ organizations, indigenous groups and church groups, working topromote participatory governance in Brooke’s Point.Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines (AMP) The AMP started its programs in Bgy. Bayog, Brooke’s Point in 1998 as part of theimmersion program of the Commission for Social and Special Concerns of the Vicariate ofPuerto Princesa. In 2003, it decided to operate independently of the Vicariate as a separatecongregation. In the same year, it implemented a new project among the indigenous Pala’wantribe in Sitio Boog in Bgy. Ipilan and Sto. Raang in Bgy. Aribungos. When MacroAsia started the process to secure an FPIC from the Pala’wan tribe for itsmining exploration in 2005, AMP stood against the mining project together with someindigenous Pala’wan. Since then, AMP has been actively involved in the anti-mining campaignin Brooke’s Point.Irrigators’ Associations of Maasin-Calasaguen & Sabsaban (MCIA and SIA) The Maasin-Calasaguen and the Sabsaban Irrigators’ Associations were both organized inthe 1990s through the assistance of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). The Maasin-Calasaguen Irrigators’ Association (MCIA) was registered with the SEC on March 5, 1998. An MCIA Resolution31 states that the Communal Irrigation System of Maasin “suppliesirrigation water to four barangays of Calasaguen, Maasin, Mambalot and Ipilan comprising anarea of 1,016 hectares of rice lands owned and tilled by 360 farmers.” MCIA also claims that180 farm families are directly benefiting from the irrigation system which produces around “80cavans of palay per cropping season per hectare.” Both groups are opposing mining operations due to the perceived impact on watershedsand agricultural lands.31 Board Resolution No. 04-5 series of 2005
  24. 24. 24Overview of the Mining Conflict Mining activities in Brooke’s Point started in the 1970s when Nippon Mining Companyof Japan (Nippon) and Infanta Mineral and Industrial Corporation (Infanta) undertookexploration activities in Barangays Ipilan and Mambalot32 Interviews reveal that the two mining companies engaged only in exploration activitiesand did not proceed to large-scale mining operations. During those years, the two companieswere, in fact, extensively engaged in logging activities which resulted in the cutting down ofthousands of forest trees such as almaciga, ipil and other premium tree species. Based on theconservative estimate of some IP informants, more or less 20 hectares of forestland or equivalentto 5,000 trees were cut down in connection with the logging activities of Infanta. The IP informants claimed that the logging operations of Infanta caused the death of fourmembers of the Pala’wan tribe in two separate incidents. The first incident happened in the1970s when three IP workers accidentally fell from a truck during logging operations, while theother incident happened few months later, when a certain Laning Immek was hit by a movingtruck loaded with almaciga logs. According to the IPs, the management of Infanta only paid thecost of burial expenses and nothing more. These incidents have left an indelible mark on theconsciousness of some IP residents and there is prevailing fear that similar incidents would resultfrom the current mining activities in the IPs’ ancestral domains. IPs also claimed that the exploration activities, particularly of Infanta, had caused thesiltation of the river (downstream) due to the erosion of loose soil materials from the test-pit andauger-drilling sites, which have affected more or less 50 hectares of agricultural land. Theexploration activities of Nippon, on the other hand, had also caused the siltation particularly ofthe Ipilan River, which the Pala’wan tribe called Ipilan Kală (big). To migrant farmers, however, the operations of Infanta and Nippon did not triggerdivision between the companies and the local people. The two mining companies only operatedfor a few years and no wide-scale tensions were reported during the brief stint of exploration andlogging activities, as far as key informants are concerned. However, it was reported that in 1975,several communities around Maasin, Mambalot, Ipilan, Barong-Barong and Aribungos wereaffected by a huge flood that hit just a few years after these two companies ceased theirexploration and logging operations. After a lull of more than two decades, the issue on mining re-emerged when CNMECbegan its mining exploration activities in Maasin, in the site formerly operated by Nippon. InSeptember 1993, CNMEC secured an MPSA from the National Government and subsequently32 Key informants interviewed during FGD/KI sessions between August 8-16, 2007
  25. 25. 25entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with Sarabat Minerals Philippines to “explore anddevelop into commercial production the nickel laterite deposits identified as the Celestialproperty” 33 in Brooke’s Point, Palawan. Its MPSA was amended on April 10, 2000. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, some groups under the umbrella of Palawan NGONetwork, Inc. (these include World Vision, SAMMI, ELAC), Restoration Foundation (RF),Samahan sa Pangangalaga ng Kalikasan (SAPAKA), and some indigenous peoples’organizations began to undertake protest and other advocacy actions against Celestial’s allegedillegal exploration activities in Maasin. In October 1999, the residents of Barangays Calasaguen, Maasin, Mambalot and Ipilan,Brooke’s Point signed a “petition expressing their concerns on the potential irreversibleenvironmental damages”34 that the mining activities and future refinery plant would cause to thehealth, livelihood and environment of the surrounding barangays. Aside from pursuing its miningoperations, Celestial was proposing for the establishment of a processing plant which “willproduce briquette nickel and cobalt via sulfide precipitation and leaching, with specification-grade ammonia sulfate as a by-product.”35 In response, a multi-sectoral investigation was conducted in September 2000 toinvestigate the complaint. The field monitoring and investigation led by PCSDS and ELAC cameup with several findings.36 Among these were the following: (1) all test pits seen were left openmaking it hazardous/dangerous to human beings, animals and wildlife; (2) excavated materialsthat were left on the surface could be subject to severe erosion that might be toxic to plants andanimals on the lower grounds; (3) previously mined out areas were left unrehabilitated subject tosevere degree of erosion; (4) traces of mineral elements were observed along tributaries andwaterways draining to the lowlands particularly on streams, rivers and ricefield areas; (5)maintenance of the access road - particularly on providing necessary canals, stabilizing side cutthru reducing slopes and rip rapping measures, and providing/adopting dense vegetative cover tocontrol erosion - were poorly undertaken; (6) large-scale cutting of standing trees sawn intolumber, some of which were premium or banned species within the mine-claim area, wereobserved; (7) the Environmental Work Program as submitted is inadequate and incomplete tomitigate foreseen environmental impacts due to mineral exploration at the higher ground,particularly on the watershed/drainage area of a medium scale irrigation system; and (8) thecompany failed on their social obligation to provide the correct and necessary information to thehost and neighboring communities. The investigation team recommended the following: (1) that the mining company(Celestial) secure a PCSD clearance for its exploration project, as required by Republic Act No.33 Executive Summary, Palawan Nickel Projecy-U309A, Pre-Feasibility Study of Mighty Beaut Minerals, Inc.34 Investigation of the Impacts of Celestial’s Exploration Activities in Brooke’s Point, ELAC-Scientific AdvisoryTeam (SAT), 2000.35 News Release, October 12, 2000, Mighty Beaut Minerals, Inc. (www.mightybeaut.com)36 Intra-Office Memo of Engr. Leo Eusev Palao to PCSDS Executive Director Atty. Joselito Alisuag dated 02October 2000 containing the findings of the investigation.
  26. 26. 267611; and (2) for the PCSD to pursue appropriate action/s against Celestial on, among others,their non-compliance with the conditions set forth in their approved MPSA. As a result of the said investigation, the PCSD ordered the mining company to “stop allexploration activities until such time that the above issues are resolved.”37 In response, the mining company undertook some remedial measures to implementnecessary work programs in compliance with their Exploration and Environmental WorkPrograms (EEWP). On March 22, 2001 and April 4, 2002, the mining company submitted copiesof its progress reports to ELAC and DENR-MGB Region IV, respectively. The reports(accompanied with photos) contained the various activities such as fencing of test pits, treeplanting, and installation of additional warning signs that were undertaken by the company intheir project area. Since the alleged illegal exploration issue was not resolved, some residents of Brgy.Maasin through the Pro-Life and Environment Friendly Association (Pro-Life) again wrote to theconcerned agencies (PCSD, DENR, Governor’s Office, ELAC) on May 4, 2004, complaining ofsuch illegal activities. The group claimed that Celestial was engaged in exploration activitieswithout the necessary exploration permit. Thus, on May 12, 2004, the DENR-CommunityEnvironment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) conducted its own investigation and foundout that the exploration/drilling activities undertaken by Celestial “is a clear violation of[Republic Act No.] 7942 and the terms and conditions stipulated in the approved MPSA.”38 TheDENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) then forwarded theresult of the investigation to the DENR-MGB Regional Office for the latter’s action.The Endorsements and the FPIC process Despite the various complaints and issues raised by concerned residents, particularly ofIpilan and Maasin, prior to and after the said investigation, some Barangay LGUs41 in themunicipality of Brooke’s Point endorsed the mining exploration of Celestial. The informants recall that, in one of the dialogues between civil society groups and localofficials, the Local Chief Executive promised to “consult” the people on the issue of mining.However, this was not done. They learned later that the endorsement for Celestial’s explorationactivity had been given by the Chief Executive without the consent of his constituents.37 Letter of PCSDS Executive Director Atty. Joselito Alisuag addressed to Mr. Denis C. Hernandez, President ofCNMEC dated 29 November 2000.38 Investigation Report of DENR-CENRO Brooke’s Point dated May 24, 200441 Bgy. Resolution of Bgy. Ipilan obtained by ELAC
  27. 27. 27 On June 24, 2005, MacroAsia was able to secure a SEP Clearance from the PCSD for itsmineral exploration project in Ipilan, Mambalot and Maasin. Despite the opposition raised bycivil society groups, the PCSD pushed through with the issuance of the clearance. Two monthslater, in August 2005, the company secured the FPIC of the concerned indigenous people withinthe impact communities for its exploration activity. In late 2005, the Sangguniang Bayan of Brooke’s Point endorsed the mining explorationof MacroAsia. The passage of the resolution was swift. Residents were totally oblivious of thefact that an endorsement had been given, as no public consultations were undertaken. After the issuance of the said endorsement, civil society groups consisting of irrigators’associations, indigenous groups, church groups, and professionals, undertook concerted actions,such as the signing of petitions, and the holding of discussions-fora, dialogues and a rally, callingfor the revocation of the endorsement. When all of their initiatives and demands fell on deaf ears,the anti-mining groups initiated a Petition for Recall against the Local Chief Executive.Unfortunately, even as the Petition for Recall was signed by more or less 6,000 registered voters,the initiative did not prosper as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) failed to hold aspecial election for the purpose.39 On May 10, 2006, the provincial governor wrote a letter to DENR Secretary AngeloReyes complaining about the issuance of the MPSA to MacroAsia in the absence of anendorsement from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. In his letter, Governor Reyes claimed that“no consultation and prior approval of the LGUs concerned were secured by the applicant(MacroAsia), in blatant violation of Republic 7942 (Philippine Mining Act), Republic Act 7160(Local Government Code), DENR Memorandum Order No. 2004-09, DENR AdministrativeOrder No. 2005-15, and Provincial Ordinance Nos. 682 and 918 re: Mandatory Consultation andProject Endorsement Guidelines”40. The governor then requested the DENR to “immediatelyeffect the SUSPENSION, if not, CANCELLATION of the Mineral Production SharingAgreement (MPSA) of MacroAsia Corporation for violation of the pertinent laws, rules andregulations and orders.”41Elections as an arena of engagement Unsatisfied with the government’s responses to the said controversy, the anti-mininggroups saw an opportunity in the May 2007 elections to sustain their fight against mining. Thegroup led by SIKAP came up with a complete slate for the municipal LGU positions, with themining issue as one of its electoral agenda. The anti-mining candidates utilized their campaign sorties as a vehicle to expose miningissues. The slate also came up with its own development agenda for the municipality. Althoughthe group competed with political veterans, they managed to win the vice mayoralty position in39 Interview with Nomelito Lagan & Vice Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano, leaders of SIKAP40 Letter of Hon. Governor Joel T. Reyes to DENR Sec. Angelo Reyes dated May 10, 2006.41 ibid
  28. 28. 28the person of Atty. Mary Jean Feliciano, a staunch anti-mining advocate and one of the leaders ofSIKAP.Issues and Conflicts Based on the accounts of key informants42 and a thorough review of applicable laws,policies and issuances, the following are the key conflict areas in this case:Conflict between mining and the municipality’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan The Municipal Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) for 2000-2010 of Brooke’s Pointwas adopted under Municipal Ordinance No. 04, series of 2001 and approved by theSangguniang Panlalawigan, through Resolution No. 4786, series of 2001. It identifies the2,835.06-MPSA area of CNMEC in Barangays Maasin and Ipilan as part of the proposed“Communal Forest” of the municipality. The CLUP mandates that “protection and productionforests which cover approximately 54,099 hectares or 63.60% of the municipal land area bemaintained”43 as such. In fact, the LGU of Brooke’s Point had already delineated more or less5,000 hectares located in the buffer/controlled use zone as the proposed communal forest. The CLUP, likewise, did not identify mining as one of the municipality’s developmentstrategies, nor did it mention mining as one of the economic sectors. Rather, the CLUP focusedon forestry, marine and fisheries, agriculture, tourism, and commerce, trade and industry as itskey development sectors. In terms of industrial activities, the CLUP is geared towards“processing of agriculture and fishery products.”44 It also emphasized that the “promotion andsupport of agro-based, small- and medium-scale industries shall form the core of the municipalindustrial strategy.”45 Therefore, as far as the CLUP is concerned, mining was never considered as adevelopment strategy, and that the municipality’s land and resource uses are largely devoted toagro-forestry development, watershed protection and forest management.Mining within ancestral domains42 Informants interviewed individually and through FGD between August-September,200743 Proposed General Land Use, CLUP, pg. 16044 Development Strategies, CLUP, pg. 12745 Ibid
  29. 29. 29 The indigenous Pala’wan tribe has existing ancestral domain claims covering anapproximate area of 4,600 and 10,000 hectares in Barangays Maasin and Aribungos,respectively. According to the key informants, the indigenous peoples have been utilizing theirlands, rivers, streams and forest areas for cultural and economic uses such as kaingin (slash andburn farming), hunting of wild boar, and gathering of almaciga resin, wild fruits, and honey.However, with the entry of mining companies in their ancestral domains, the traditional practicesof the indigenous people would definitely be affected. They further claimed that the “diwata” orspirit may be driven away because of the disturbance resulting from the mining activity.Customarily, Pala’wans believe that the spirit would curse them (“paneket”) if Mt. Gantong andMt. Kalinduan, which are believed to be sacred places (“panyaen”) are destroyed. Other members of the tribe, however, viewed the re-entry and future operations of themining companies as economically beneficial. They said it would help them in terms ofemployment. They also claimed that the affected IP communities would directly benefit from the1% royalty share of the gross revenue of the mining company. The IPRA Law provides that any activity or project implemented within an ancestraldomain should secure a Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from the concerned indigenouspeoples. The law emphasizes “consensus” as the operating principle in securing the FPIC of theconcerned indigenous people and further stresses that the process must be in accordance withtheir own customary practices. Section 3(g) of the IPRA defines FPIC as: “Free and Prior Informed Consent - as used in this Act shall mean the consensus of all members of the ICCs/IPs to be determined in accordance with their respective customary laws and practices, free from any external manipulation, interference coercion, and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a language and process understandable to the community” (emphasis supplied). However, while the mining companies were able to secure FPIC from the affected IPcommunities, the process undertaken by the NCIP was not only inconsistent with the spirit of“consensus,” it was also allegedly marred by bribery and manipulation. During the generalassembly of IPs in Sitio Linao, Ipilan, Brooke’s Point, on August 30, 2005, some IPs46personally witnessed certain community leaders offering money to IP participants - including thewitnesses themselves. The offer was made in exchange for their “Yes” votes during the FPICassembly. According to them, the assembly was supposedly exclusive for the IPs of Aribungosand Linao, Ipilan but some IPs from other barangays were also allowed to participate.46 Sworn Affidavits of Nolsita Siyang, Ingkal Lumnas, Dailan Mailan, Ulot Torina Basio Torina & Tarsan Torina
  30. 30. 30 It should be noted that some of the witnesses subsequently retracted their statements anddenied that there was bribery during the FPIC process. A few months later, one of them attestedthat he was threatened in connection with the statements he made.Conflict between mining and watersheds The LGU of Brooke’s Point has identified the forest areas of Barangays Maasin andAribungos as potential sources of water supply for the municipality. In Maasin, initiatives havealready been undertaken to delineate the watershed areas through the adoption of a BarangayResolution.47 The Mt. Gantong watershed, located in Barangay Aribungos, is also being utilizedas one of the major sources of water for domestic and agricultural purposes. While these areas have not yet been legally declared as “watershed areas,” the farmers ofMaasin, Calasaguen, Barong-Barong, Mambalot, Ipilan and Aribungos have been benefitingfrom two Communal Irrigation Projects (CIPs) - the Maasin–Calasaguen Communal IrrigationProject (servicing the irrigation needs of the farmers of Barangays Maasin and Calasaguen) andthe Sabsaban Communal Irrigation Project (which irrigates the farmlands of Barangays Ipilan,Mambalot, Barong-Barong and part of Aribungos). These CIPs, together with three other CIPsin the municipality, collectively irrigate more or less 3,000 hectares of rice fields. These ricefields produce an average of 412,000 bags of palay, which at a conservative estimate are worthapproximately P165 million, annually. These irrigation projects cost approximately P200M48. Yet, despite the resolution submitted by the Maasin-Calasaguen Irrigators’ Association todeclare the source of irrigation as a “watershed area,” the proposal has not been acted upon bythe LGU and the DENR. Chapter VI, Article 67 of Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippinesstates that: “any watershed or any area of the land adjacent to any surface water or overlying any ground water may be declared by the Department of Natural Resources as a protected area”. These watershed areas are directly or indirectly facing imminent threat from the proposedmining operations of MacroAsia and INC. The former has a mining claim which covers part ofthe Mt. Gantong watershed, while the latter is currently operating adjacent to the proposedwatershed area of Maasin.47 The Bgy. Council of Maasin passed a Resolution delineating and declaring the forest of Maasin as a “watershedarea”. ELAC assisted in the delineation and survey of the proposed watershed area.48 Mr. Danilo Gonzales, Manager of BPRWSA, during a key informant interview on August 9, 2007
  31. 31. 31 However, the mining companies argue that they are currently operating outside thewatershed areas and their activities are still in the exploration stage. On several occasions 49though, the mining companies would only explain in great detail the exploration activities andtend to evade the issue on the impacts of mining during actual operations.Questionable decision-making processes of LGUs The decision taken by key LGU officials of Brooke’s Point from barangay to municipallevels endorsing the mining exploration activities of INC and MacroAsia have been stronglycriticized by some local stakeholders due to the absence of “public consultations.” Keyinformants feel that the endorsements did not consider the general interest and welfare of themajority of the constituents. They further believe that such hastily-made decisions have ignitedthe conflict and contributed to further division among the local stakeholders. They also claimthat some important provisions of the Local Government Code were not followed. Among theimportant provisions is Section 27, which states that: “Prior Consultations Required. - No project or program shall be implemented by government unless the consultations mentioned in Sections 2 (c) and 26 hereof are complied with, and prior approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained: Provided, That occupants in areas where such projects are to be implemented shall not be evicted unless appropriate relocation sites have been provided, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution” The key informants believe that the above-mentioned provision has not been observed bythe local officials when the said resolutions were passed. The informants added that the saidprovision and other important provisions should have been the legislative prerequisite prior tothe said endorsements. Some barangay officials interviewed during the research have validated this claim.According to them, the Resolution endorsing the exploration activity of MacroAsia was alreadydrafted, and further claimed that there were really no deliberations made by the council, or anypublic hearings conducted.. According to some key informants,50 the Sangguniang Bayan briskly passed theResolution of endorsement for MacroAsia in a single session without observing the regularlegislative process. What complicated the issue further was that, when the Resolution wasdeliberated on the floor, the council’s Presiding Officer was the acting OIC for the Mayor. On the part of the Barangay Council of Aribungos, it withdrew its endorsement ofMacroAsia’s exploration activity partly as a result of pressure from several groups in Aribungos,including OIPAPI, AMP and the irrigators’ association. The Punong Barangay of Aribungos also49 Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) meetings and public fora sponsored or attended by the mining company.50 SIKAP personalities
  32. 32. 32stood up against the position taken by the other five Punong Barangays and the Local ChiefExecutive. Aside from the perception that some local officials have violated important provisions ofthe Local Government Code, those opposing the exploration activities feel that they have beenbetrayed by the Local Chief Executive when he defied his own public pronouncement that hewould “consult” his constituents particularly on Celestial’s exploration activity. These questionable endorsements were the very sources of conflicts among the localstakeholders.Mining within core and restricted use zones of ECAN The SEP Law adopted the ECAN as its main strategy. Programs and projects to beimplemented in the province of Palawan must be consistent with this framework. Therefore, thePCSD shall approve or disapprove a particular project based on the following criteria: (1) Ecological viability - The physical and biological cycles that maintain theproductivity of natural ecosystems must always be kept intact; (2) Social acceptability - The people themselves, through participatory process,should be fully committed to support sustainable development activities by fostering equity inaccess to resources and the benefits derived from them; and (3) Integrated approach - This allow for a holistic view of problems and issuesobtaining in the environment as well as opportunities for coordination and sharing that willeventually provide the resources and political will to actually implement and sustain SEPactivities. Thus, in issuing a SEP Clearance, PCSD is mandated to implement Section 9 of the SEPLaw, which specifically states: SEC. 9. Terrestrial Component; Management Scheme and Zonation. — The terrestrial component may be further subdivided into smaller management components for a more efficient supervision. These management components, in turn, shall each be further subdivided into the following zones: 1. Area of maximum protection or core zone — This zone shall be fully and strictly protected and maintained free of human disruption. Included here are all types of natural forest which include first growth forest, residual forest and edges of intact forest, areas above one thousand (1,000) meters elevation, peaks of mountains or other areas with very steep gradients, and endangered habitats and habitats of endangered and rare species. Exceptions, however, may be granted to traditional uses of tribal communities of these areas for minimal and soft impact gathering of forest species for ceremonial and medicinal
  33. 33. 33 purposes. 2. Buffer zone — This area permits regulated use and may be further subdivided into three (3) sub-zones: a. Restricted use area. — Generally surrounds the core zone and provides a protective barrier. Limited and non consumptive activities may be allowed in this area; b. Controlled use area. — Encircles and provides the outer barrier to the core and restricted use areas. Controlled forest extraction, like the collecting of minor forest products, and strictly controlled logging and mining may be allowed; and, c. Traditional use area. — Edges of intact forests where traditional land use is already stabilized or is being stabilized. Management and control shall be carried out with the other supporting programs of the SEP. 3. Multiple/manipulative use area. — This is the area where the landscape has been modified for different forms of land use such as intensive timber extraction, grazing and pastures, agriculture and infrastructure development. Control and management shall be strictly integrated with the other supporting programs of the SEP and other similar programs of the Government” (emphasis mine). However, both the mining claims of MacroAsia and INC are partly situated within coreand restricted use zones of Mantalingahan Range which are considered as “non-allowable areas”based on the updated 2005 ECAN map of the municipality. The updated ECAN map wasadopted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Brooke’s Point in 2005.51 Despite this, the PCSD issuedSEP Clearances to the two companies in 2005. The PCSD has not given any justification for theissuance. Moreover, most of the areas within and around Mantalingahan Range either have existingmining claims, or are subject of applications for exploration and mining operation. Somestakeholders believe that the re-entry of extractive industries in an area as ecologically importantas Mt. Mantalingahan is diametrically opposed to the primary objective of declaring the area as aProtected Landscape.Conflicting interests and perceptions of local stakeholders on mining There are divergent interests and perceptions among local stakeholders as far as the issueon impacts and benefits of mining is concerned. Such contrasting and diverse interests constituteone of the causes of conflict and tension among the concerned parties.51 See Municipal Resolution No. 2005-110
  34. 34. 34 Aside from the position taken by the Catholic Church52 on the mining issue, which isanchored not only on environmental grounds, but also on the social and moral implications ofmining in the life of its flock and on the “integrity of Creation”, the civil society organizations inBrooke’s Point generally anchor their opposition on the social, economic and environmentalimplications of mining. They believe that mining should not be considered as a development option at all, as faras Brooke’s Point is concerned. They claim that the municipality has other options for improvingthe local economy and addressing poverty. The group asserts that the LGU should prioritize,enhance and support the agricultural and tourism sectors because fishery and agriculturalresources are still abundant, and the eco-tourism business has potential. However, other sectors, groups and individuals have different views and strategies oneconomic development and poverty alleviation. The pro-mining groups (such as BROFETRICS,and some local officials) believe that mining is economically beneficial. They argue that giventhe current state of the local economy and the living conditions of the people, mining is analternative because it would substantially contribute to the local coffers in the form of taxes andsocio-economic projects, especially in the impact communities. They say that the huge mineraldeposits beneath the mountains and forests should now be extracted and utilized while thedemand for nickel and other metallic minerals are still high in the international market. Among the tribal chieftains and their followers, the 1% royalty share of the indigenouspeoples as well as the socio-economic benefits (e.g., jobs, water pumps, scholarships, andlivelihood projects) given by mining companies are enough reasons for their continued supportto the mining industry. However, IP groups under the Panglima Assembly view these socio-economic projectsand contractual job offers to the locals as instruments of the mining companies to entice residentsto support the exploration activities. They observed that this approach sowed divisions amongthe indigenous peoples.Analysis and Recommendations The case study shows that concealment, undue haste and circumvention, especially onmatters involving public interest, make up a recipe for social conflicts. The exclusion of themajority of the local stakeholders in the decision-making process, coupled with a widelyperceived circumvention of the rule of law, only strengthen the resolve of some constituents tocontinually distrust their public officials. The perception of other stakeholders that there seemedto be a manipulation of the process of endorsement only heightened the conflict and furtherstrained the relationship among local stakeholders.52 Statement of Concern issued by the Bishop, Clergy and the Association of Religious Women of the ApostolicVicariate of Puerto Princesa, 2007.
  35. 35. 35 While the tension is relatively manageable and the relationship among the differentstakeholders largely remains to be civil, the situation has the potential to escalate if the followingconcerns, which can serve as “conflict flashpoints,”53 remain unattended: 1) the impact of miningon watersheds and irrigation, the cultural and economic practices of the IPs, and forest andagricultural sustainability; and 2) the perceived propensity of some government authorities tofavor mining companies (e.g., endorsement without public consultations), and the apparent lackof transparency on the part of the mining companies to disclose important information to thepublic, especially on the negative impact of their mining activities (information was largelydevoted to exploration activities), which only exacerbates the tension within the communities.Although the mining companies have been conducting series of consultations and informationdissemination campaigns to inform the public on the extent of their projects, participants to theseactivities are usually those who are in favor of mining. Aside from the above-stated factors, conflict is essentially induced by the divergent viewsof the local stakeholders on mining. This disparity is anchored on economic benefits on onehand, and environmental impacts on the other. The pro-mining groups and individuals believethat mining is one of the alternative solutions to address the social and economic inequities suchas unemployment, low income and limited opportunities. Therefore, the extraction and utilizationof huge mineral deposits beneath the mountains and forests are necessary while there is a highdemand for nickel and other metallic minerals in the international market. On the other hand, the anti-mining groups believe that mining should not be consideredas an option at all for Brooke’s Point. They argue that the municipality is still rich and productivein terms of fishery and agricultural resources. The group asserts that the agricultural and tourismsectors should be prioritized, enhanced and supported by the local government unit of Brooke’sPoint in order to improve the local economy and uplift the living conditions of its constituents Based on the foregoing, this study recommends the following courses of actions toprevent the escalation of conflicts and eventually pave the way towards the resolution of theidentified “conflict flashpoints”:(1) Establishment of mutually acceptable and transparent mechanism/s and strengthening ofexisting structures The conflicting parties, especially the LGUs and civil society organizations, should agreeon a functional mechanism that is mutually acceptable, inclusive and transparent to the public.The rationale for instituting this mechanism is to facilitate the resolution of emerging issues andgrievances by purposively encouraging the participation of different stakeholders in the entireprocess of conflict resolution. Existing bodies can be tapped for this purpose, such as the ECANBoard which is mandated to oversee, monitor and make policy recommendations in relation tothe implementation of the SEP law and other environmental laws. Regular dialogues andparticipatory, community-oriented forms of grievance mechanisms can be initiated within theECAN structure. Other existing administrative structures, such as the Municipal Development53 Michael Carson et al. of Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, coins key issues that areimportant determinants of conflict as “conflict flashpoints”
  36. 36. 36Council, Barangay Development Councils and Lupon ng Tagapamayapa can be strengthened andutilized in resolving disputes. By installing an effective grievance procedure down to the community level, conflicts orissues are immediately settled and/or clarified. The absence of a conflict resolution mechanism atthe community level, as this study showed, has contributed to the building up of a complicatedweb of issues, which are sometimes, irrelevant to the main points of the controversy. Strengthening existing administrative structures, which are multisectoral andmultidisciplinary in nature, is necessary. Through the involvement of different sectors and keyplayers, issues or concerns are decided collectively rather than through the exclusive discretionof the politically dominant structures of government (e.g. Sangguniang Bayan). Thus, decisionscan be collegial and there is greater probability that the processes involved (including thestructure itself and the issues to be resolved) are acceptable to all. However, this mechanism should not negate the mandated duties and responsibilities ofelected officials. Rather, it should democratize the decision-making process, especially on crucialissues like mining. As Stephen Tyler54 suggests, there is a need “to sort out new mechanisms and institutionsto manage these conflicts and resolve them productively in the interests of both long-termsustainability and short-term economic feasibility”. In the process of resolving conflictsespecially between LGUs and civil society organizations, a dialogical approach can be aneffective means. Through reflective dialogue,55 parties can consider the wider interests ofdifferent stakeholders rather than just their respective positions. Through this approach, thequality of conversation is transformed from discussion and debate to collective inquiry (Isaacs1999), thus, effectively resolving the issue at hand. The prevailing suspicions and distrust areobjectively clarified and reflected on by both parties.(2) Strict implementation of applicable laws, policies and ordinances One of the key factors that fueled the conflict is the failure to adhere to the provisions ofthe applicable laws. Thus, government authorities especially the LGUs, DENR, PCSD and NCIPshould fairly and judiciously implement the relevant laws, policies and issuances, and perform itsofficial duties according to their respective institutional mandates. Several provisions of variouslaws, such as, but not limited to, Sections 26 and 27 of the Local Government Code, Section 9 ofthe SEP Law, Chapter VI, Article 67 of Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of thePhilippines, Chapter II, Section 3 (g) of IPRA Law and Municipal Ordinance No. 04 series of54 Dr. Tyler is the founder of Adaptive Resource Management Ltd, an interdisciplinary consulting practicespecializing in community-oriented natural resource management and adaptation studies. From 1997-2005, he wasTeam Leader for the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) program of the InternationalDevelopment Research Centre.55 Isaacs (1999) uses the term “reflective dialogue” to refer to a process “where you become willing to think aboutthe rules underlying what you do- the reasons for your thoughts and actions...”

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