An anti-mining group on Thursday, March 23, called on government to stop seabed quarrying projects and adopt a precautionary principle on seabed quarrying and offshore mining similar to the call for a “precautionary pause” or ban on mining in the high seas by other countries.
“There should be a halt in seabed quarrying projects considering government still has to undertake economic valuation or natural capital accounting of our marine ecosystems,” said Jaybee Garganera, coordinator of the group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM).
“Without knowing the value of our marine life, there is no way to determine the tradeoffs that come with destructive seabed quarrying and offshore mining,” he said.
Garganera said the Philippines has more sea water than land, “hence we have many coastal communities that are dependent on the seas for their livelihood and daily life.”
“These are the communities that will be negatively affected if seabed quarrying were to continue,” he said.
He noted that “there is no existing law or policy that enables communities to seek reparations from companies, as exemplified by the recent oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.”
Garganera said that absent any cost-benefit analysis on seabed quarrying and offshore mining, government must continue to impose a moratorium on new applications.
He said that government needs to investigate ongoing seabed quarrying projects that have reported violations and immediately stop the operations of these projects.
The activist said there have been reports in Cavite that a large number of vessels had entered fishing grounds, dredging the seafloor and leaving behind wrecked marine ecosystems.