When People in High Places play God!
The risk for the environment is ever increasing! The vultures are at it again! They’re playing Gods again. Most of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) voted to lift the ban on open pit mining yesterday.
We share the mounting frustrations and disappointments of our partner communities. This day marks a devastating development in their struggles against destructive mining. The ban on open pit mining somehow raised hopes on the seriousness of this administration to protect the environment. But it looks like it’s doomed.
Rene Pamplona, Advocacy Officer of Convergence of Initiatives for Environmental Justice (CIEJ) from South Cotabato said that “the MICC, and the major lobbyist in favor of open-pit mining, the Chamber of Mines are relentless and adamant to overturn the ban by the previous DENR Secretary. Are they relentless because of Tampakan? We will continue to stand for the protection of our watersheds and food basket that will be heavily impacted should this mining project pursue.”
Tampakan mining project if pushed, will cover the biggest open-pit mining project in the whole of Asia and would bore a huge hole on earth and would impact the food basket and watersheds not just of South Cotabato but the surrounding provinces and displacement of more than 5,000 indigenous people.
While the Chamber of Mines insist that open pit mining is an internationally accepted method of mining, they also forgot to consider that our country is archipelagic and highly populated. Those mining projects are inhabited if not surrounded by communities compared to those huge vast track of barren and uninhabited lands in other countries they always refer to.
PMPI and its partner communities condemn and demand explanation from the MICC. This policy recommendation never considered the plight of the mining-affected communities. The MICC failed to see the point that open pit mining is a perpetual liability to the government and that the country has never even seen a fully rehabilitated open pit mine.
“No amount of rehabilitation efforts can bring back the forest and lands destroyed to its original state. The biodiversity of any terrain if wantonly desecrated can kill many small species thriving in these forestlands. Not to mention the cultural, social and economic dislocation of the people in the communities.” Lamented Fr Odick Calumpiano, PMPI Co-Convenor and Social Action Director of Diocese of Borongan.
PMPI calls on the DENR Secretary Cimatu not to heed this recommendation of the MICC. We ask the Secretary to dialogue personally with mining-affected communities and engage the other environmental advocate as mining is an issue not only about the mining affected communities in ground zero, but the surrounding communities which are attributes to the impact of mining activities.
“Our environment is at stake. The destruction to the environment and the loss that would impact the next generations to come is invaluable. The cost of maintaining and rehabilitating an open pit mine after its mine life must be duly considered. The management and protection of the environment should be a primordial concern of government and its citizens if we want our sons and daughters to survive this world.” lamented Yoly Esguerra, National Coordinator of PMPI said.
We implore the good Secretary to stand by his words that the ban on open pit mining will stay. Lifting DAO 2017-10 is the same as allowing the relentless destruction of the environment under your watch. The directive of the President should be clear, that he will not allow destructive mining to continue to operate the same way. We are all looking up to you now dear Secretary! The fate of our remaining biodiversity is in your hands! Let not the MICC and the Chamber of Mines play God over us.