DENR-8 Regional
Lormelyn Claudio

TACLOBAN CITY – The regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) vowed that their office is strictly monitoring the operations of mining companies in Eastern Samar, particularly on the islands of Homonhon and Manicani.

DENR-8 Regional Executive Director Lormelyn Claudio made this assurance during an online press conference who said that protecting the two islands are among her priorities.
She said that she made this known when she assumed her post and during her meeting with officials of the Environmental Management Bureau and the Mines and Geoscience Bureau together with the provincial government of Eastern Samar.

“We discussed concerns, environmental concerns, and that needed studies that these mining corporations would have to do,” Claudio said.

“In fact, it would be good for you to know, that we even proposed for the mining companies to enhance the cultural and the historical features of both islands and they agreed on that,” she said.

“They agreed as well that the biophysical and marine assessment studies would be undertaken,” she further said.

Claudio said that this project even implemented by the government will still have to go through the clearance and permitting system of DENR.

“Please be assured that we will ensure that the stakeholder concern will be considered even with the review process within these two islands,” she said.

The environment agency official added that they had strengthened the environmental monitoring of the projects and that this monitoring “has to be transparent.”

“Even with the concern on the watershed in Homonhon Island, I’d like to inform you that one company will only be allowed to do the tree cutting and operation in the center of its MPSA,” Claudio added.

Environmental groups are opposing the mining operations on Homonhon and Manicani Islands which they said aside from destroying the environment, also pose health hazards to the residents.

The group added that these mining operations desecrates the historical value of the island particularly Homonhon which is recognized in the pages of world history, being the site where Ferdinand Magellan landed while they were looking for a new route going to Moluccas for spice trade.

At least four mining companies are operating on the island of Homonhon which are concentrated in two villages – Cagusuan and Casuguran, extracting nickel and chromite.
At least three of the eight villages on the island are not affected by mining operations, namely, Bitaugan, Habag, and Inapulangan.

During the commemoration of the 503rd Philippine part of the first circumnavigation in the world last March 17, a 21-kilometer road project was launched by the 4Ps Partylist headed by Rep. Marcelino ‘Nonoy’ Libanan together with the municipal government of Guiuan, and the Department of Public Works and Highways which will be part of the 61-kilometer Homonhon Island Circumferential Road.