Sibuyan ipamana, hindi ipamina!
February 7, 2023 / Earth Island Institute Philippines
𝗘𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗵 𝗜𝘀𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻 𝗦𝗶𝗯𝘂𝘆𝗮𝗻, 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗻𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗮𝗹
The Earth Island Institute Philippines joins people's organizations and all environmental groups in condemning the violent police dispersal of the people barricaded to protect Sibuyan Island from the destruction of nature caused by illegal and unauthorized mining by the Altai Philippines Mining Company. From which the violent dispersal resulted in two injuries on the demonstrators' side.
Sibuyan Island, known as the "Galapagos of Asia," is home to hundreds of different species, some of which are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Because of this, the Sibuyan people have a long history of environmental defense and preservation traditions. The company's effort to sneak several trucks full of soil as part of their nickel "exploration" was prevented by organized locals and environmental groups operating under the banners of Alyansa Tigil Mina and Sibuyanon Against Mining. The mining company reportedly plans to extract 50,000 metric tons of nickel ore, which will then be put into a ship on route to China for processing.
Two sizable parcels of land are slated to be mined by the firm under the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), according to the Project Description for Scoping (PDS) that the company filed to the DENR . Parcel 1 has 1,140.7790 hectares in size, while Parcel 2 measures 440.0220 hectares. They are both situated at Mt. Guiting-guiting, a protected area on the aforementioned island. In 2011, former Mayor Dindo Coronel Rios filed a lawsuit against the Altai Philippines Mining Company (APMC) over the hazards that mining would pose to Sibuyan Island's rivers and seas. The DENR BMB issued a cease and desist order for mining exploration the same year. But in 2021, the DENR backtracked and once again gave APMC permission to operate. 
"We vehemently denounce the coercive dispersal of Sibuyan residents and organizations that defend our nature. This violates not only the right to peaceful assembly but also the right to a healthy and flourishing environment”. Said Robert Ray Medrano, Campaign Coordinator of Earth Island Institute Philippines
The group also wants to hold the municipal government, government agencies like the DENR and PNP, as well as powerful politicians and families, responsible for conspiring with APMC to carry out its unlawful mining and repress the populace's resistance to do so. Kenneth Gatchalian, the younger brother of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, was also identified as a shareholder in Atlantic Dynamo Limited, a subcontractor having a collaboration arrangement with Altai, according to sources. 
"What is the value of economic growth if we destroy our biodiversity? What is the purpose of progress if we don't have a healthy, clean environment for our children and future generations? If development means the enrichment of a few, and the suffering of the majority, this is not genuine development," says Medrano.
While this is going on, the Altai Philippines Mining Corporation declares today that it has temporarily stopped operations in order to facilitate a peaceful resolution. However, Medrano is skeptical and encourages everyone to exercise extreme caution.
"We are united in vigilance to stop the illegal mining of APMC in Sibuyan Island. We also wish to stop all the destructive mines in the Philippines, and together we can achieve these goals. We would like to congratulate and salute the courageous people and fellow environmental groups for holding the line to protect Sibuyan Island. It's an inspiration to all environmental defenders throughout the country.” Medrano ends.#
 Project Description for Scoping, Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (AMPC) Proposed Nickel Project. https://eia.emb.gov.ph/wp.../uploads/2023/01/PD_ALTAI.pdf
  Christian Esguerra. (2023). Mining sa Sibuyan Island bakit tinututulan? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19Z60nlHxJQ