Philippines: Crucial days ahead for UNESCO Reserve


Indigenous people in Palawan, Philippines received shocking news at the start of June that the application of three new Philippine mining firms has been approved into one Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTEE) in a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve.

Approval of this FTAA application will allow the Canadian mining firm MBMI and its Philippine Partners to substantially increase exploration activities and to progress toward full-scale nickel operations in the municipalities of Rizal, Bataraza, and Narra.

In response a, so-called, anti-mining “Karaban” rally was organised, comprising about 600 protesters made up mostly of farmers and indigenous communities. They reached Palawan capital city on June 7. The main scope of the peaceful effort was to request the Provincial Government not to endorse the proposed plans of MacroAsia and Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC), and to clarify matters on the Canadian-based MBMI mining company’s newly approved Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) application.

children protesting against mining in palawan

Children protesting against mining at Brooke's Point, Palawan. © Artiso Mandawa.

"We are shocked by the recent news circulated through the website of MBMI Resources Inc (a Canadian-based minerals company focused on the exploration and development of nickel)," said Artiso Mandawa, National Coordinator of ALDAW (Ancestral Land/Domain Watch). "The mining applications of Narra Nickel Mining and Development, Inc. (NNMDC), Tesoro Mining and Development, Inc. (TMDI), and McArthur Mining, Inc. (MMI) - approved through a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) - will surely lead to the devastation of precious watersheds, indigenous ancestral territories and productive rice-land. Once again, the rights of our indigenous and farming communities have been completely bypassed in violation of national and international laws. We will extend any pressure we can to ensure that the Department of Environment and Natural resources will not endorse the FTAA".

June 22 (today) is the last official session of the Provincial Government of Palawan before the new elected administration takes over. On June 25, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) will have its last session. Indigenous peoples, farmers and NGOs fear that these government agencies might endorse both MacroAsia and Ipilan Nickel Corporation before their mandates end. As a result anti-mining efforts are being intensified and the international advocacy community is being alerted.

Dario Novellino alerted Plant Talk to the issues in Palawan in February.
Watch footage of the "Karaban" mining protest on June 7 (link to You Tube).
Detailed information on the Community Solidarity Response Toronto website.

Related links:

ALDAW on Vimeo

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Palawan campaign thumbnail In February Plant Talk published an article about the mining threats to the landscape, people and plants of Palawan in the Philippines. Yesterday I received an impassioned plea from Aldaw (Ancestral Land/Domain Watch) to bring a petition to the attention of the public.

Philippines: Geo-tagging reveals mining threats on the “Last frontier”


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