Ipilan Nickel hits Palawan property demolition; mayor asserts act legal

Diana Lat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2018 03:25 PM

BROOKE’S POINT, Palawan- Ipilan Nickel Corporation has decried the local government’s demolition of the company’s property here, saying it was illegal and a disregard for an agreement between the two parties.

The company said it is mulling over filing criminal, civil, and administrative complaints against town Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano and others who entered Ipilan Nickel’s premises.

"Ipilan Nickel Corporation strongly condemns this illegal demolition of company and national government property conducted by an armed group led by Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano of Brooke's Point, Palawan, a known-anti mining advocate," the company said in a statement.

The local government of Brooke’s Point also disregarded the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), Ipilan Nickel said.

Feliciano, however, insisted that a demolition order was served to the company last Aug. 11, 2017 due to Ipilan Nickel’s alleged violation of the town’s zoning ordinance, the National Building Code of the Philippines, and a municipal ordinance.

"Binigyan na sila ng cease and desist order, ng closure order. Ibinigay at pinadala sa kanila pero hindi sila nakikipag-ugnayan at sumasagot sa atin," she said.

(They were served a cease and desist order and a closure order. It was sent to them but they did not reach out to us.)

Last year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cancelled the tree-cutting permit of Ipilan Nickel for alleged violations.

Global Ferronickel Holdings, however, said its affiliate, Ipilan Nickel Corp, has the necessary permits to remove trees in Brooke’s Point.

Feliciano appealed to the DENR to cancel MPSAs saying more trees have been removed from Brooke’s Point since last year.

"Talagang wala silang (mining firm) sinusunod na batas at awtoridad... Ini-expect po namin (sa DENR) na bilang leading agency na tasked to protect the enviroment, na sana po tuluyan nang makansela ang mga MPSA (Mineral Production Sharing Agreement ) dito sa Brooke's Point sapagkat alam niyo po na puro natural forest ang kanilang sinisira," Feliciano said.

(They really don’t follow any law and authority. We expect the DENR, as the lead agency tasked to protect the environment, to cancel MPSAs here at Brooke’s Point since natural forests are being destroyed.)

The DENR in Mimaropa has suggested to the Office of the President the cancellation of Ipilan Nickel's MPSA.

“Kami naman sa region (We here in the region), we've already 
recommended for the cancellation of the MPSA. The cancellation of their MPSA, that's the last nail in the coffin," said DENR Mimaropa regional director Natividad Bernardino.

The local government of Brooke’s Point said it would stand by the legality of its demolition of Ipilan Nickel’s property.