Mining makes vulnerable Communities even more Vulnerable!
We share the sentiments of many that indeed a ban on mining operations in Itogon, Benguet is imperative! After Typhoon Ompong hit the province, killing almost a hundred miners and their families in a landslide, it is only right that the local government of Itogon finally issued a total mining ban in the town.
We commend this move of the LGU of Itogon, Benguet recognizing the fact that mining makes fragile ecosystems and communities more vulnerable to disasters, especially in the context of climate change that generates stronger and more destructive typhoons as years pass.
The LGUs of Itogon, Benguet and the Province of Benguet should hold accountable agencies and mining companies involved in this disaster. Their responsibility to ensure rehabilitation of abandoned mines as well as regulation of mining operations, small- or large-scale mining seemed to have been neglected.
And, while executing a total ban on mining, the LGU must ensure appropriate assistance to small-scale miners and their families whose lives and livelihood are highly dependent on mineral resources. Not only making available sustainable livelihood opportunities for affected families, but LGU should involve these people in the processes of crafting plans that will help them transition to safer and more environment-friendly jobs. The same should be adopted by LGUs of Naga City, Cebu and all other LGUs, especially those that are within vulnerable areas identified by Project NOAH.
May we appeal to the DENR Secretary and most importantly the President – to see through this light and finally fulfill through a policy his pronouncement on banning open pit mining and foregoing mining for the protection of the environment and communities. There are already enough technical and physical evidences – mine audits and hazard mapping by the DENR and the incidents in Naga, Cebu and Itogon, Benguet – all pointing towards re-thinking of our framework and even drivers of development, in this case unhinged and unhindered large-scale mining.
We say No to Mining. Make accountable violators of environmental laws. Protect our communities. Protect our remaining resources. Re-think drivers of Development.