Noong bata pa ako at nabubuhay ang aking inang si Evelyn Eder, nakita ko kung paano siya at ang kanyang mga kasamahang manggagawa sa Simbahan lumaban sa patuloy na pagtatapon ng Marcopper ng dumi mula sa kanilang minahan sa aming dagat. Pagkalipas ng ilang panahon, muli na namang bumabalik ang mapaminsalang minahan sa aming lalawigan.

Buo ang aking suporta sa Marinduque Declaration, na naka-post sa ibaba:

adopted on January 31, 2006 during the Second Church-Local Government Leaders’ Roundtable Discussion on Social Concerns in Boac, Marinduque.”As long as Marinduque’s mountains remain rich in desirable metals, Marinduqueños will have to remain eternally vigilant to protect the island from further mining”
(+Rafael M. Lim, D.D., First Bishop of Boac)

We, Church leaders, government officials, and civil society organization representatives, after reflecting on and scrutinizing the realities in our island-province of Marinduque specifically our collective experiences for the past 30 years of hosting large-scale mining projects, do hereby declare:

1. That series of disasters due to large scale-mining operations blighted our once culturally peaceful island and for the same period, we, as a people, through various institutions and people’s collective actions, have demonstrated our collective struggle for environmental justice as can be gleaned from petitions, resolutions, manifestos, and cases filed in the various executive, legislative and judicial institutions in the country but justice has been so elusive.

2. That instead of sparing the remaining bounty of the natural environment of the island-province and addressing the various environmental health and livelihood concerns of our communities, the national government responded by putting the SAN ANTONIO COPPER PROJECT in the list of mining priority areas under the Mineral Action Plan and mining revitalization program of the present national administration;

3. That the inclusion of the San Antonio Copper Project in the mining priority list is insulting for us, Marinduqueños, and really shows callous disregard of the national government for the suffering of our children, women and men as a result of large-scale mining. It is quite clear that the government still don’t realize the gravity of environmental problems in our province, just don’t care about the poor people�s welfare, or has lost all capacity to function as a sovereign government for the best interest of its people and the nation�s future. Whichever it is or a combination of all three, there resides in the Marinduque�os a deeply rooted sense of justice and rights and a long history of willingness to fight for those rights in the face of oppression.

4. That our struggle for environmental justice is no different or less important than that of illustrious Marinduqueño revolutionaries of the past who made history in the rare victories against the Americans in the Battle of Paye on July 31, 1900 and in the Battle of Pulang Lupa on September 13, 1900. We, Marinduque�os will continue the struggle.

5. That our experiences proved that after 30 years of hosting three large-scale mining projects (Consolidated Mines Project, Tapian Copper Mine Project, and San Antonio Copper Mine Project), our beloved province remains one of the only 7 Fourth Class provinces in the country; ranked as 14th poorest province in the Philippines; ranked as having the 3rd most denuded forests; and, has a high poverty incidence of 71.9%;

6. That on October 4, 2005, the people of Marinduque through the provincial Government filed a complaint in Nevada, USA against Placer Dome, Inc., to seek justice for our environment, for our livelihood, and for the violation of our rights and more importantly, for the future and next generation of Marinduqueños, who are the real owners of this island-paradise.

7. That on October 28, 2005, the 10th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Marinduque, in a historic display of political will, declared a 50-year large-scale mining moratorium in Marinduque to give reprieve to the remaining natural bounty of the province and in order to strengthen the case filed in the United States. Yet the national government kept on “selling” our island-paradise to foreign investors.

We, therefore, support the January 29, 2006 Pastoral Statement of the Catholic Bishops, Conference of the Philippines especially its call–to stop the 24 Priority Mining Projects of the government, and the closure of large-scale mining projects;

We specifically call on Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other concerned agencies of the national government to immediately remove or “delist” the SAN ANTONIO COPPER PROJECT from the priority mining projects of her administration.

We finally call on the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 in defense of our national patrimony.

Ederic Eder

Ederic is a Filipino communications worker in the telecom, media, and technology industry. He writes about K-dramas and Korean celebrities for Hallyudorama.

He used to be a social media manager for news at GMA Network, where he also headed YouScoop, GMA News and Public Affairs’ citizen journalism arm.

He was with Yahoo! Philippines for more than three years before returning to GMA Network, where he was also previously part of the News Research section.

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