Various groups led by Alyansa Tigil Mina marched to the DENR grounds today calling on Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to cancel mining contracts that continue to ravage communities and destroy the environment.
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said they “are bringing the barricades to the DENR to strongly urge Sec. Yulo to cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC) in Sibuyan Island, Romblon, and Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) in Brooke’s Point, Palawan respectively.”
In solidarity with the “Barikada Kontra-Mina” in Sibuyan and “Barikada ng Bayan” in Brooke’s Point, the demonstrators walked under the banner of “Barikada ng Mamamayan”.
Bearing placards and chanting “Likas Yaman, Ipamana Huwag Ipamina; Yamang Bayan, Protektahan Huwag Nakawan”, the protestors also warned the PBBM administration from catering to the vested interests of mining companies at the expense of mining-affected communities.
Rodne Galicha, Executive-Director of Living Laudato Si and a resident of Sibuyan Island, said “the government must protect the rich natural resources of Sibuyan and other mining-affected communities for they are the true wealth of the nation.” He said, “the population heavily relies on the rich biodiversity of our environment for our everyday living and livelihood.”
Rev. Fr. Bong Magbata, Director of Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs of the Diocese of Romblon said: “The faith communities through Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) are united in our call to protect our archipelagic province and small islands. It is our duty to be stewards of creation, which has been continuously exploited because of greed. We will stand in unity with the earth and the poor in a way that ecological balance is maintained and protected.”
Vic Colili, Councilor of Brooke’s Point Palawan said that “future generations deserve no less than the preservation of our environment. Plus, the destruction brought about by mining makes communities more vulnerable to climate risks. What is needed now is effective disaster risk management and not more destructive mining activities.”
In a letter submitted to Sec. Loyzaga, ATM National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera also urged the DENR “to review current mining contracts and assess the implementation of mining projects in different parts of the country through a mining audit.”
The action also meant to protest the ongoing seabed quarrying operations in Cavite as part of Manila Bay’s reclamation projects. The group called for a stop to these activities and for the passage of a law that would permanently ban seabed quarrying.