Manicani Island residents support Responsible Mining

Some 200 residents of Manicani Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar have expressed their full support to the position of President Rodrigo Duterte that all mining firms should strictly practice responsible mining.

In throwing their support, the residents staged a rally last June 29 to hail Duterte’s "you better do it right" position on mining, saying that responsible mining means jobs.

Majority of the residents of Manicani, a 1,000 hectare island that is rich in nickel ore, are supporting mining operations in their area because this could provide them employment. The anti-mining residents of the island consisted only of a minority of the population with more than 2,500 residents.

The residents from the four barangays of Buenavista, Banaag, Hamorawon and San Jose are merely dependent on fishing as a means of livelihood because their nickelized soil is not ideal for agriculture.

But because of dynamite fishing and big fishing vessels from Tacloban, their catch is diminished, thus, affecting their livelihood.

Their situation was further aggravated when Manicani was hit by SuperTyphoon Yolanda in November 8, 2013.

Residents are now thankful that Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) was allowed by the government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 8 and Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 8 (MGB).

The DENR-8 had issued a memorandum on June 25, 2014, recommending to the national office for the disposition of the nickel ore stockpiles to prevent siltation and water pollution in the Island.

But the removal of the mining wastes got stalled due to the opposition from anti-mining group who earlier were the ones who wanted these taken out from the island.

On May 17 of this year, the MGB-8 issued an ore transport permit (OTP) to HMC for the disposal of the stockpile “for environmental reasons, removal of existing nickel ore stockpiles located in Barangay Buenavista, Manicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.”

With the removal of stockpile, Engineer Nilo Milaor, HMC resident manager said nearly 600 Manicani residents benefitting more than 700 families were employed by the company.

Milaor said HMC has been providing housing, water supply, recreational facilities and livelihood to the Manicani residents.

Without the loading,he said, the problem of families on the island is how to survive on a day to day basis.

According to Chief Inspector Cirilo Nicart Jr., chief of the Guiuan Police, there is no problem of the peace and order in the island in connection to the removal and loading of the stockpiles of the mining wastes.

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