MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Mindoreños unite anew against mining

Published by MAC on 2004-07-02

 

Mindoreños unite anew against mining

By Ire Jo V.C. Laurente, Today

Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro - The provincial government and several sectors of society here have again bonded to oppose the planned extraction of nickel and cobalt here, undaunted by a Malacañang legal opinion setting aside an earlier cancellation of a permit to mine a large portion of a mountainous area.

A loose alliance of civil society, church and people’s organizations calling itself Alyansa Laban sa Mina (Alamin) and the provincial government convened a forum attended by mining opponents at the capitol square on Tuesday.

The group expressed shock upon learning the Malacañang resolution giving Canada-based Crew Minerals, now renamed Crew Gold and which posted its office in London, the chance to undergo the same process that gave them the permit to mine.

Then Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Heherson Alvarez cancelled the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) given by his predecessor Antonio Cerilles.

Gov. Bartolome L. Marasigan Sr., in his opening statement to the forum, said all the efforts of his administration in uplifting the condition of his constituents would be wasted if the “destructive mining” pushes through.

“Masasayang ang lahat ng ating mga programa at proyekto para sa ikabubuti ng ating mga kababayan kung mauuwi din lamang ito sa pagkasira ng pinagkukunan ng kanilang kabuhayan na maaaring idulot ng pagmiminang ito,” Marasigan said.

Bishop Warlito Cajandig also called on his flock to stand up once again to guard “what had been already won by the people,” apparently referring to the cancellation of the mpsa before and the passing of a 25-year large-scale mining moratorium by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board).

In what many present in the forum described as unusual, representatives from the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police express their unity with the anti-mining group. Army Col. Jose Recuesco and PNP provincial director Col. Volataire Calzado both assured the participants in the forum that they were one with them in the “protection and development of the environment.”

Local officials from several towns, deemed as stakeholders in the planned mining, said they had opposed the project before and they were opposing it all the more now.

The forum also elected a new set of leaders constituting a coordinating council composed of representatives from the different sectors present. They also drew up plans of action they would undertake in the coming days.

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