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Monday, July 15, 2024

DENR poised to save Homonhon Is.

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has activated Task Force Homonhon to save the historical island in Eastern Samar from further decay due to nickel and chromite mining operations.

Former Eastern Samar congressman now 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan welcomed the creation of the task force through the initiative of DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga in collaboration with stakeholders.

“As discussed during our meeting, the task force will visit Homonhon, inspect all mining operations there, and then adopt a comprehensive action plan to save the island,” Libanan said in a statement.

He said the task force will ensure that the concerned mining companies in Homonhon fully comply with all environmental and community health protection laws, and that they are restoring and improving all the areas that they have disturbed, including the island’s coastal ecosystem.

“We are also counting on the mining firms to spend for Homonhon’s electrification and the installation of a water system that will provide round-the-clock running water supply to households there,” Libanan said.

Homonhon Island has a land area of 105 square kilometers, Homonhon and considered one of the historical places of the world.

When Ferdinand Magellan first circumnavigated the globe, his three surviving vessels landed on Homonhon where his crew rested and resupplied for a week before heading out to Limasawa, Butuan and finally to Cebu, where the Portuguese explorer was slain in the Battle of Mactan.

Homonhon currently has a population of 5,073 grouped into eight barangays, and forms part of the municipality of Guiuan.

Loyzaga designated DENR Undersecretary Carlos Primo David as head of Task Force Homonhon.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the private entities in Homonhon that have mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) with the national government.

The mining firms will be required to designate representatives to the task force to facilitate coordination and implementation of remedial measures to restore Homonhon’s environment, notably its coastal ecosystem.

At present, the MPSA holders in Homonhon are Global Min-met Resources Inc., Emir Mineral Resources Corp., Verrum Terra Geoscience Inc., Techiron Resources Inc., Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration & Development Corp., Chromiteking Inc., and Nickelace Inc.

Meanwhile, Libanan said he intends to find out why Guiuan has not been receiving its rightful share of the revenues collected by the national government from the mining activities in Homonhon.

Under the law, Libanan said local governments are supposed to receive 40 percent of the national treasury’s earnings from mining taxes and royalties from mineral reservations collected from their areas.

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