February 25, 2018, 1:32 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.0709 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0666 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03436 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.38512 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0246 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03436 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03861 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.59981 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0307 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00727 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.8027 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01931 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02544 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13243 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06249 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01931 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.24035 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18341 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 386.48649 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03857 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02437 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01807 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.38996 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12225 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 54.88417 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.92317 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01931 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.73147 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.39788 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.41371 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11689 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94363 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19764 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24563 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34054 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.5251 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0157 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03853 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01381 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01382 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08607 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.90347 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 173.55213 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14162 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.93494 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15101 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45448 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11653 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.23243 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 4.90965 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 263.76448 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06723 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.25268 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.85714 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 718.33978 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.93822 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.4222 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01364 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0617 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.96236 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.311 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 76.94981 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.70077 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.37452 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.76255 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00578 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01583 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.1749 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 159.87839 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 29.06178 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.99421 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.50386 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22268 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05886 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01198 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0257 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1777 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.32037 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.96332 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.79151 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 46.1583 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15547 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.75676 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.63514 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29614 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.77317 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35764 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07562 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22261 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.9112 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59556 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15133 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 1.99853 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02647 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00743 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01931 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06266 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06071 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.13127 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06552 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 107.39382 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07027 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07302 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.08832 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.23803 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07239 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14989 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25792 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34575 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15762 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02545 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01382 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42869 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 147.2973 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.84942 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 384.74904 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16892 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.9417 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22262 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60579 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04633 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04271 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07317 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12974 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56444 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.35907 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52008 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 70.40541 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01931 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54923 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 157.72201 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 558.39769 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 438.97684 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.05502 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04818 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.28822 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05212 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.28822 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.87297 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.82336 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22278 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 100.1834 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.98649 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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