BORONGAN CITY, October 28, 2017–Hundreds of anti-mining advocates and supporters gathered in Borongan on October 27 to protest mining operations in the province.
Students, professionals, religious and ordinary people manifested solidarity with the people of Manicani and Homonhon who mobilized a motorcade from Guiuan to Borongan.
Fr. Juderick Calumpiano, chairman of the Diocesan Social Action Commission said that it was a collective effort to voice out their sentiments against mining in Manicani and Homonhon.
They called on the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to revoke the resolution they passed in support of the resolutions of the councils of the 4 barangays in Manicani and the SB of Guiuan endorsing the renewal of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement of Hinatuan Mining Corporation and for the lifting of the suspension of its mining operation in the island. The MPSA expired on October 27, 2017.
According to Calumpiano, mining did not bring progress to the people. Instead it has affected the livelihood of the residents and caused divisiveness among families.
“Manicani has not fully recovered. Even if HMC’s operation was cut short in 2002, when it was suspended by the DENR, it has caused considerable damage to the environment”.
Mining has reduced the amount of land suitable for farming and siltation caused by soil erosion has greatly impacted on the fishing industry.
The members of the Protect Manicani Island Society said that the continued mining operation will deplete their island of the already limited resources. And will deprive them of their livelihood.
They condemned the local legislators who signed the resolution who they said “have not even visited their island and consulted them about this issue”.
Fr. Alex Galo, a former parish priest of Manicani is asking “why endorse the renewal of the MPSA when it’s operation has been suspended from 2002 until it expired yesterday?
Bishop Crispin Varquez, in a statement said, “I appeal to you, all men and women of integrity and wisdom, who have the responsibility of protecting the people who placed their trust in you. Use the power they have given you for their benefit rather than for their detriment. Yes I appeal to all leaders and lawmakers”.
The protesters vowed to do everything to prevent the renewal of the MPSA. They have been holding protests at the DENR regional office in Tacloban for the past days. (Eden Cidro/Este News)