Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Green groups laud Romblon’s mining ban

Environmental groups welcomed Romblon’s declaration of an indefinite moratorium on metallic mining in the province, calling the move a milestone for the province’s ecological protection and conservation.

“Romblon is a province composed of islands which are endowed with rich natural resources and biodiversity and this issuance will definitely be one of the milestones for its protection and conservation,” said Alyansa Tigil Mina national coordinator Jaybee Garganera.

“Mining as we know is a disputed economic activity that not only paves way for the destruction of the islands, but also puts the inhabitants of the islands at risk in the face of disasters such as floods and landslides,” he said.

Governor Eduardo Firmalo signed Monday Executive Order No. 1, imposing an indefinite ban on metallic mining in Romblon. The order was issued after a series of consultation on the impacts of mining activities on the environment and the people’s health.

“This action is to the best interest of the greater number of our people. I strongly believe that the present and future health and ecological wellbeing of our people are more important to secure rather than the momentary economic benefits derived from mining operations,” Fimalo said.

Blas Tabaranza, chief operating officer of Haribon Foundation said, said Romblon hosts three of the most important biodiversity areas in the country.

“Biodiversity in the Romblon province is so rich that all its three islands host important biodiversity areas: the entire Romblon island, Balogo Watershed in Tablas island, and Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park in Sibuyan island,” Tabaranza said.

“Subspecies of the colasisi or Philippine hanging parrot, the Philippine pygmy-woodpecker, and the orange-bellied flowerpecker, plus five mammals and 54 plants, are endemic or can only be found in Sibuyan, which has often been called the Galapagos of Asia,” Tabaranza said.

“The province's moratorium on metallic mining is a welcome measure to protect not only its people's unique treasure but also their very future,” he said.

Romblon is one of the provinces in the country that issued a moratorium on large-scale mining. The other provinces include the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Samar.

“We continue to support Gov. Firmalo and local executives and councils who asserts their local autonomy in fighting the mining industry which this government continues to revitalize and strengthen,” Garganera said.

In September last year, municipal councils from the towns of Magdiwang, Cajidiocan and San Fernando in Sibuyan Island signed joint memoranda prohibiting and opposing mining exploration and activities there. Meanwhile, the Barangay Council of Pato-o in the Municipality of Odiongan on Tablas Island also issued a resolution opposing mining.


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