MANILA, Philippines — Palawan province’s biodiversity haven Brooke’s Point is under siege from what the mayor described as illegal mining.
“Ipilan Nickel Corporation already began clearing land in Brooke’s Point’s Ipilan and Maasin villages in preparation for the company’s mineral extraction activities there,” Mayor Jean Feliciano said Tuesday at a forum in Metro Manila.
She is seeking national government’s help on the matter, calling INC’s action illegal the since Department of Environment and Natural Resources already cancelled its environmental compliance certificate for failing to meet requirements.
“INC doesn’t have the required mayor’s permit and protected area management board clearance as well,” she added.
The incursion began less than a week after the Commission on Appointments rejected Gina Lopez’ appointment as Environment secretary, the mayor said.
Feliciano said INC’s clearing operation has already felled centuries-old indigenous trees in the villages’ natural forests, which are also part of a watershed.
Aside from degrading the environment, she warned the clearing and planned mining activities will jeopardize the watershed’s ecological services, including the supply of potable water to five villages and irrigation for 3,000 hectares of farmland.
Feliciano also said chainsaws they confiscated turned out to be unregistered.
The mayor said she has reported INC’s activities to the provincial government and will “file the corresponding illegal logging charges.”