THE Supreme Court (SC) has issued a Writ of Kalikasan against the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Altai Philippines Mining Corp. (APMC), over mining activity in Sibuyan Island, Romblon which could be harmful to the environment.

In a resolution dated June 13, the tribunal ordered respondents to comment on the resolution within 10 days.

A Writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy that protects citizens from environmental damage that threatens life, health, or property in two or more cities.

Residents of Sibuyan Island filed the petition for the writ on Feb. 6.

The DENR, MGB, and Altai Philippines did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The court rejected the petitioners’ application for a temporary environmental protection order.

The court may only issue the order, which would be effective for 72 hours, if the issue was of “extreme urgency and the applicant will suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury.”

The case was also remanded to the Court of Appeals where evidence will be presented.

“The issuance of the Writ of Kalikasan is a significant step to secure and protect one of the country’s last ecological frontiers, Sibuyan Island, and its communities,” Rodne R. Galicha, executive director of environmental group Living Laudato Si, said in a Facebook post.

In February, the DENR issued a cease-and-desist order against the mining firm over an alleged breach of environmental regulations at its nickel exploration site in Romblon.

“Sibuyan Island’s fate in the hands of exploiters will not only affect the island’s fragile ecology but also that of global biodiversity systems due to the presence of many endangered flora and fauna both discovered and yet to be discovered and documented,” Mr. Galicha said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez