YES, EVERYONE SHOULD SEE BATARAZA, PALAWAN NOW
Severe erosion around the mining road used by Rio Tuba. During the rainy season the water creates deep clefts on the side of the road. No mitigating measures have been put into place to reduce erosion.
And see how its forests, biodiversity, indigenous culture and farmlands have been ravaged by mining.
Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) has been operating in Bataraza since 1975. By 2000, the company has produced and shipped out more than twelve (12) million metric tons of beneficiated nickel silicate ore to Japan since 1977.
But what is Bataraza now? A first class municipality of 53,470 people with an average family income of P.9,674 per month, which is below the poverty threshold level, and one of the top 10 poorest municipalities in Palawan.
Corporate track record must be consistently established before a corporation can claim to being responsible. Was mining responsible in these instances?
FARMLAND DAMAGE AND COMPENSATION -As far back as 20 years ago, farmers were seeking compensation of almost P20 million for their losses to farmlands. An exhausting haggling process dragged on for years, until the famers were constrained to accept a measly P1.4 million in 1997, when RTNMC was undergoing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for the conversion of their mining permit to a mineral production sharing agreement. Until now, many farmers feel they have not been adequately compensated for the pollution of their farmlands and loss in agricultural production.
WATER CONTAMINATION – In many potable sources of water for the communities, nickel has been found to be in concentrations of more than 10 times the allowable content of Japanese water quality standards. Hexavalent chromium in the different water bodies flowing through RTNMC and its Hydrometallurgical processing Plant (HPP) has also been found
DISREGARD FOR PROPER LEGAL AND GOVERNANCE PROCESSES:
- Expansion of the old mining road in the Mount Bulanjao Range was undertaken without the required clearances from government agencies.
- Quarry operations in the Gotok limestone forest (part of the ancestral domain claim of Pala’wan indigenous community and identified as a core zone by the PCSD staff) was made possible when the area was converted into alienable and disposable land and titled under former employees of the mining company under questionable circumstances.
- The revision of the Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) zoningof the municipality was made at the behest of RTNMC, to enable the mining company to pursue its expansion into Mount Bulanjao range, a watershed area that supports livelihood of farmers and indigenous communities.
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY – RTNMC has vehemently opposed the formation of another multipartite monitoring team (MMT) for its HPP operations, and refused the inclusion of additional representatives from civil society groups, despite petitions to push for transparency and broaden participation in monitoring efforts.
After more than 35 years of mining, this is what RTNMC has delivered by way of benefits to the community:
REAL PROPERTY TAXES WERE PAID STARTING 2005 ONLY and the appraisal value of the real property continues to be contested before the Tax Appeals Board. In 2008, RTNMC and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) paid total real property taxes of more than P89 million when the municipality’s appraisal value was P120 million plus. In 2009, the two mining companies paid P69 million after seeking a 20% discount for paying taxes on time.
MOST WORKERS EMPLOYED BY RTNMC ARE MIGRANTS, NOT LOCALS. The total employment generated by mining companies in 2008 was 816 individuals, as compared to agriculture, which accounts for 21,636 individuals
BATARAZA IS STILL MALARIA-INFESTED. According to data from the Provincial Health Office, malaria is still the 2nd leading cause of morbidity and the 6th leading cause of mortality in Bataraza.
CLAIMS OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ARE EXAGGERATED. Non-formal education was started by government before RTNMC embarked on its alternative formal education to indigenous peoples. Likewise,road development in Bataraza was made possible by government funds. RTNMC housing provisions and alternative formal education are recently implemented programs, part of the company’s so-called “social responsibility”, which was not voluntary. Instead it is but a result of the pressure from local communities and civil society groups who opposed the establishment of the hydrometallurgical processing plant in the EIA consultations and public hearings in 2001 and 2002.
Water sampling in July and October 2009 near the Hydrometallurgical Processing Plants (HPP)
Sumbiling Drinking water supply, Nickel: 141 micro g /L, (Allowable standard is 10)
Tagpisa, Ocayan Drinking water supply Manganese: 64.7 micro g /L, (Allowable standard is 50)
Tagupan River Chromium: 72.3 micro g /L (Allowable standard is 50); Manganese: 222 micro g /L (Allowable standard is 50)
As in other areas of the country, mining in Bataraza has continued to imperil biodiversity, livelihood and the culture of local communities because companies continue to take advantage of other people’s poverty and ignorance, because the government allows it, and because there are people who can be bought.
Lesions from exposure to contaminated water
No To Mining In Palawan
Ang Yaman ng Palawan ay Yaman ng Pilipinas
Sign the petition by going to
or texting NO2MINING <name>/<age>/<location> and send to 2366
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View ‘The Price Palawan is paying for mining’ on www.youtube.com.
This campaign is supported by MANILA BULLETIN
Sources: 2007 Census, Volume 3, Bataraza Comprehensive Land Use Plan; Volume 3 Bataraza Comprehensive Land Use Plan, quoting the Local Government performance Monitoring System (LGPMS) which reported that the annual average family income in the municipality was computed at P116,091.72; The Bulanjao 2010 Geo-Tagged Report Mining Aggression In Core Zones and Ecologically fragile Areas on Palawan Island (The Philippines), A joint field assessment of ALDAW (Ancestral Land/Domain Watch) and the Centre for Biocultural Diversity (CBCD) of the University of Kent (UK), 2010; Bataraza CLUP, 2009-2018; 2008 Annual report Provincial Health Office(PLS. Confirm)
4/1/11 10:07 AM [Back Page of The Manila Bulletin]