June 20, 2018, 5:25 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.06897 UAE Dirham
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.52113 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02544 Australian Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07009 Brazilian Real
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01878 Cuban Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01621 Euro
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01426 Falkland Islands Pound
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.08833 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.87962 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 169.05164 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14052 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.88526 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14739 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44866 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1197 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.23812 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.22103 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 261.46479 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06819 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27817 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.23474 Iraqi Dinar
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1 Philippine Peso = 2.4507 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01331 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.06607 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.89577 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.28255 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 75.84601 Cambodia Riel
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1 Philippine Peso = 16.90141 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.8492 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00568 Kuwaiti Dinar
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1 Philippine Peso = 6.40488 Kazakhstan Tenge
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.31576 Moldovan Leu
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1 Philippine Peso = 25.69014 Myanmar Kyat
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.15181 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.66667 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.65765 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29239 Maldives Rufiyaa
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.3853 Mexican Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 2.0385 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0272 New Zealand Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01878 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06164 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06142 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.28545 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06993 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.70047 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06835 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07565 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.1966 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 15.95174 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07042 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14841 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25277 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33719 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16718 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02548 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01426 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41701 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 149.29577 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.57277 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 397.4216 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16432 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.67099 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25817 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.61446 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04845 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04326 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08905 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12487 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56648 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 42.59155 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.49596 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 72.33803 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01878 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59211 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 147.69953 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 1498.59155 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 429.12676 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.02911 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04869 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.62592 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0507 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.62592 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.92432 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.69202 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25823 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 97.4554 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.79624 Zimbabwe dollar

Who speaks for whom?

AND so it came to pass that an anti-mining rally was held in the plaza of Guiuan, Eastern Samar on Monday last week, October 16. It was a rally that was organized by more than five anti-mining NGOs led by PROMISI or Project Manicani Island Incorporated. (The media advisory, released on October 10 was issued under the name of Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc.)

The rally was described as a “Creative Mass Action,” meant for “community members and Peoples’ Organizations from Manicani and Homonhon” which happen to be islands that are part of the LGU of Guiuan, and locations for nickel mining operations. With the hashtag #MyHomeisaNoGoZoneforMining, the media advisory promised that “On October 16, 2017, more than 400 community members from Manicani, Homonhon and Tacloban will once more converge and sit their grievance against the on-going lobbying by Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) of the renewal its MPSA....”

The rally was indeed held as scheduled. But the number quoted in the media advisory was too optimistic. Observers gathered around Guiuan plaza that Monday put the number of participants at not more than 150, enough to huddle under two rectangular tents pitched up to shield the rallyists from the sun.

I am told that of the thirteen speakers who went up the stage to address the gathering, only one was from Manicani, a Kagawad of Barangay Buenavista. It is Barangay Buenavista that is the main host of Hinatuan Mining and is one of the four barangays whose residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of the mining operations during barangay assemblies held recently.

In fact I was amused - and intrigued at the same time - that a media advisory for a rally against mining on Manicani Island openly admitted that rallyists would not be coming solely from the island in question. Then again this is not surprising given that on average close to 90% of all the residents of the four barangays on the island are supportive of the project. So who can be expected to rally except outsiders - people who have no direct connection to the island and whose fates would not be affected whatsoever by what happens on the island. Especially rallyists from Tacloban, some 175 kilometres away, and not even coming from the same province!

So not only was the “Creative Mass Action” a failure as far as turnout was concerned; it was also a failure as far as the origin of the participants of the rally was concerned.

This failure was made more evident a day later when some 500 residents of Manicani Island led by their four Barangay captains staged their own rally in the same Plaza in order to emphasize that it is they who speak for the island and it is their expressed opinion that should be respected. As is often the case there is a dispute about the actual turnout - the Kapitans claim they had 700 people but independent observers quoted the lower number. But whether you choose the higher or the lower one, the turnout of the Tuesday rally would still dwarf the Monday rally of the antis, even if one were to double the estimate of 150 for the latter gathering as given by observers.

Oh, and by the way - the rallyists on Tuesday were, to a man I am told, all from Manicani Island. They had no “imports” from Homonhon or from Tacloban.

Why should all of these matter?

The media advisory cited a 2002 move by then DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez to suspend operations of HMC on Manicani due to questions about social acceptance. That is true. But the advisory failed to mention, perhaps intentionally, that the same DENR secretary had formed a special team to look into the issue raised at that time - fifteen years ago - by anti mining groups and even the Diocese of Borongan. And the report released a year later by this special team - consisting of Messrs Ariel De Sesto, Reynaldo Zabala and Jovito Manuel - countered each and every issue raised, point by point - from the issue of lack of consultation or public support to the issue of siltation and the risk of Open Pit mining. On the issue of social acceptability, the report cited numerous surveys conducted by the Office of the Governor showing overwhelming support among residents of the four barangays, contradicting the claims of the anti mining groups. Regarding siltation the report cited expert findings that the nature of soil in nickel laden areas make them susceptible to erosion that leads to siltation whether or not mining happens, while the report correctly mentioned that open pit is a globally accepted mining process that is used when the ore body is close to the surface of the earth, as is usually the case with nickel deposits.

Again, let me stress - these were findings of a Special Team created by then DENR secretary Heherson Alvarez In 2002 - fifteen years ago.

And yet the allegations are repeated, over and over again, because (as the Special Team’s Report on page 26 cited) it is a fact that “there are many organizations and individuals who have taken a hard stance against mining and no amount of explanation will suffice.”

Fifteen years is too much. It is time to stop this and defer to the real wishes of the islanders. Let the people of Manicani speak for themselves and let the rest of us respect their wishes whatever that may be.
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