A Palawan bishop has admitted to feeling a certain level of “guarded excitement” after the controversial mining project in the province’s southern town of Brooke’s Point was halted.
Bishop Socrates Mesiona of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa expressed concerns that the decision may be reversed at any time.
“We will continue to pray and ensure our voices are heard, and I hope we can advance our advocacy efforts,” Mesiona said.
The bishop was reacting to the cease and desist order issued by the regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples against Ipilian Nickel Corp. (INC) for its nickel mining operations.
In a resolution dated August 11, INC ordered the mining firm to completely halt operations within five days and to install safety protocols to ensure the community’s safety.
According to NCIP, the company failed to obtain the mandatory certificate of precondition (CP) and the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) from the tribal communities.
“Anything can happen after that because it seems that they only have certain requirements they need to fulfil,” Mesiona said.
NCIP said that the order would only be lifted upon the company’s compliance with the necessary permits.
Mesiona and the vicariate’s clergy consistently opposed mining in Brooke’s Point, condemning these operations as a “rape of nature”.
Farmers and indigenous peoples have also decried how mining activities have allegedly ravaged their lands and impacted their livelihoods.