SC issues writ of kalikasan against DENR, mining firms in Palawan

August 17, 2023

Pro-environment groups scored a victory against destructive extraction after the Philippine Supreme Court issued a “writ of kalikasan” against the country’s environment department and mining companies in southern Palawan.

“The Court found that there is a possibility of serious and irreversible harm on the environment and the inhabitants of Brooke’s Point located in the Mt. Mantalingahan Mountain Range,” the court said in a statement. 

The high court ordered the Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) and Celestial Nickel Mining and Exploration Corporation (Celestial Mining) “to provide evidence to dispel concerns regarding potential harmful impact of a project on the environment”.

The writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy designed for the protection of one’s constitutional right to a healthy environment.

The SC has found that the mining operations “may cause irreparable environmental damage to the Mt. Mantalingahan protected area” and the Indigenous People’s ancestral domain. 

It also said that the mining operations and the “lack of action” by the concerned government agencies “place the residents of Brooke’s Point in peril”.

“The continued mining operations and excavation of nickel minerals lead to environmental damage… as exhibited by extreme flooding and contamination of fishing areas, which continually prejudice the life, health, and property of the residents,” the SC said. 

The high court said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), “whose inaction over the strong pleas of the residents of Brooke’s Point shows their indifference to the rights of the [Indigenous Cultural Communities] to a balanced and healthful ecology”. 

In April, Bishops Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa and Broderick Pabillo of Taytay called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to “permanently stop” the mining operations in the biodiversity-rich island.

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