VARIOUS civil society groups have launched a series of protest actions following the "continued mining operations" in the country amid the victory of the Sibuyan Island community in Romblon province.

“As the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration continues to open up the country for mining, we must be ready to push back against the human rights and environmental violations this will undoubtedly bring," said Jon Bonifacio, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

On Monday, February 6, 2023, Kalikasan PNE, along with other environmental groups, staged a rally in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Quezon City, as they held the agency "accountable for their alleged lack of action."

“While the clear victory of the Sibuyan people must be celebrated, other communities are still facing mining and quarrying issues,” said Bonifacio.

In a statement, the groups urged DENR "to prioritize protecting people and nature before vested socio-economic interests and to issue a cease and desist order that would stop the operations of Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC)."

“We urge DENR to have a more proactive approach to the issue of Sibuyan and mining issues across the Philippines in general. We cannot have a leadership content with simply staying on the sidelines," said Lia Mai Torres, executive director of Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines (CEC).

The protestors urged vigilance "in the face of a renewed push for more mining operations in the country by the Marcos Jr. administration."

Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Philippine Catholic bishops also expressed “solidarity” with the people of Sibuyan Island who set up a “people’s barricade” since January against the said mining firm.

The incident happened after the said company reportedly started to transport nickel ore off the island.

At least two people were also injured during the dispersal.

“APMC was operating under permits initially granted by the DENR. This shows that much of the destruction and violence that has taken place was a direct result of the gross negligence of the Marcos Jr. administration. If not for the resistance of the people of Sibuyan, these violations would have never come to light,” Bonifacio said. (SunStar Philippines)