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Anti-mining group reject Nickel Asia as development partner for Guiuan post-Yolanda rehabilitation
On Mining
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 12:02

ATM Statement

February 4, 2014

 

Anti-mining group reject Nickel Asia as development partner for Guiuan  post-Yolanda rehabilitation

 

atm-logoAlyansa Tigil Mina, a coalition of more than one hundred organizations that is challenging the current policy regime on mining in the country, is strongly opposing the designation of Nickel Asia Corporation as the lead private sector “development partner” for Guiuan, south of Eastern Samar.

 

The Presidential Assistant on Recovery and Rehabilitation (PARR), on January 30, announced four pilot areas for Yolanda rehabilitation—Tacloban City, Tanauan in Leyte, Guiuan in Eastern Samar, and Biliran. There are more than twenty other areas for rehabilitation.

Guiuan was identified because of “high-level private sector interest”, specifically that of mining companies. A fishing and farming community, Guiuan is also rich in mineral resources including bauxite, nickel and titaferous magnetite—the nearby islands of Manicani, Homonhon and Suluan are also swarmed with mineral operations.

 

ATM believes that this engagement is meant only to give way to Nickel Asia for possible mining investments in the future. This is clearly corporate capture of potential developments in the area. Sadly, it is not shocking at all for our coalition, as it seems the government, through this initiative, is relinquishing its responsibility to rehabilitate disaster-hit areas to the private sector.

 

This strategy of the PARR raises too many questions to the government, not only by ATM but by other civil society organizations as well: what are the guidelines that led in the selection of these “development partners” per region or disaster-hit area? What mechanisms will be established to ensure the transparency and accountability of the “development partners” and PARR? will there be space for open participation of people in the development and implementation of the rehabilitation plans?

 

Lastly, a big challenge is the accountability of the Aquino “PNoy” Administration to its people. ATM believes that it is the government that should be “shepherding” the rehabilitation and recovery of the disaster-hit areas and that the sponsoring companies or may extend their expertise, but not perform the lead role.

 

ATM recognizes that Guiuan, as the first hit area and one of the most devastated with almost 100% of its people losing their homes, should be a priority rehabilitation area.  But we also cannot discount the reason behind the intent of different conglomerates, such as Nickel Asia for instance, to help reconstruct the areas. They may have the funds and are able to rebuild immediately, however, they are also very likely to exploit the natural and mineral resources in the area, as in their many mine sites in the country.

 

It is to this end that we call on the government, through the PARR and Sec. Panfilo Lacson, to reassess their strategies in spearheading the Recovery and Rehabilitation the affected regions. The local government and its people as the “clients” (as the business sector would put it) should be at the center of the reconstruction efforts.

 

Alyansa Tigil Mina

c/o Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 0927.761.7602

 

Additional Notes:

 

§  Guiuan was the 1st municipality struck by Yolanda on Nov 8. It is currently supported by several NGOs including Filipino organization Medical Action Group and Guiuan Development Foundation Inc. San Francisco-based social enterprise Give2Asia announced support for Guiuan on January 30.

 

§  Rep. Ben Evardone filed House Bill 6898 to declare the province of Eastern Samar as “mining-free”.

 

§  Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) is currently the largest producer of nickel ore in the country, with four operating mines: Rio Tuba mine in Palawan, Taganito mine in Surigao del Norte, Cagdianao mine in Dinagat Island, and Taganaan in Hinatuan Island, Surigao City.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 12:04
 

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