People from Sibuyan Island in the province of Romblon held a prayer rally outside the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) office in Manila to lobby for the cancellation of the Mineral Sharing Production Agreement (MPSA) of Altai Philippines Mining Corporation.
In a petition, Alfredo Borda Pascual, president of Bantay Kalikasan ng Sibuyan, alleged that APMC continues to violate mining laws and deceive both the people and the government.
Pascual said his group has sent several letters to the DENR, urging the department to halt illegal mining activities on Sibuyan Island, but their pleas have been ignored.
“We also want to convey that the public opposes mining on Sibuyan because it not only damages the environment but also the livelihoods of the people,” said Pascual in a statement.
Pristine Garcia, a member of the organization, expressed her opposition to mining on the island, highlighting its supposed detrimental effects on natural resources and the safety of the residents.
“We say ‘No to Mining in Sibuyan Island’”’ as mining will destroy its natural beauty and its biodiversity considering that it is one of the last ecological frontiers of our country,” said Garcia.
“The health and livelihoods of our people, including the indigenous groups, will be put at risk. We cannot allow this to happen,” she added.
The group Bantay Kalikasan is among leading organizations advocating for the rights of Sibuyan residents against illegal mining. They organize monthly programs to draw government attention to the damage in Sibuyan Island.
In a statement, the Catholic Diocese of Romblon assured that it remains steadfast in opposing harmful mining practices on Sibuyan Island and pledged to continue being good stewards of God’s creation and actively promote its preservation.