Romblon diocese expresses fear over impending return of mining companies

June 24, 2022

The Diocese of Romblon has expressed fear over the return of mining companies in the province following the lifting of the “mining moratorium” in the country.

“[Mining companies] are now preparing documents, such as environmental impact assessments, for them to be able to apply for permits,” said Father Ric Magro, social action director of the diocese.

In an interview over Radio Veritas 846, the priest said parishes are monitoring the situation in the localities.

In April last year, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order lifting the nine-year moratorium on mineral agreements to spur economic growth amid the pandemic.

The order directs the Environment department to “formulate the terms and conditions in the new mineral agreements that will maximize government revenues and share from production.”

Father Magro said that after the lifting of the moratorium, a lot of mining companies have shown interest in operating in the province.

He said the diocese is particularly monitoring Altai Philippines Mining Corporation on Sibuyan Island, which the priest said is rich in minerals, such as gold.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau issued a cease and desist order on the mining operation of APMC in 2011 due to “lack of social acceptability.”

In May this year, anti-mining activists and residents of the province stopped the initial process to obtain an environmental compliance certificate through an “information and education campaign” supposedly by APMC.

“We will not stop protecting our island, one of the Philippines’ last biodiversity hotspots. Our mountains, rivers and seas are more important than whatever wealth mining can give,” said Rodne Galicha, executive director of Living Laudato Si’ Philippines.

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