Boac, Marinduque–The Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC), a church-based multi-sectoral organization in the Province of Marinduque is alarmed by the proliferation of mining companies in the Island-Province and other parts of the country which pose as “small-scale” players in the mining industry.
Just recently two mining companies, the Asian Iron Ore Corporation and Archean Mining Corporation, held a public consultation in Barangay Bocboc offering various economic opportunities to the people if they will be allowed to operate a “small-scale iron mining project.”
Barangay Bocboc is in the town of Mogpog and was one of the barangays which was grimly and critically affected by an enormous flooding wrought by the collapse of Marcopper Mining Corporation’s Maguila-guila Siltation Dam on December 6, 1993 where two children died of drowning. Their civil case filed against Marcopper Mining Corporation and Placer Dome is still being heard in the Regional Trial Court of Marinduque.
“Is this an indication that anti-mining advocates and environmentalists are already winning the struggle against large-scale mining and the administration’s mineral liberalization program?” asked Myke Magalang, Executive Secretary of MACEC.
“This also seems to be a circumvention of the environmental impact assessment process for medium and large-scale mining operations because in order to avoid the scrutiny of national and international anti-mining groups, mining companies are deploying “never-heard small or dummy
corporations” to make it appear that they will only operate small-scale mining projects in a locality. Small-scale mining operations are processed by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Boards,” added Magalang.
There were also reports of similar incidents in Agusan del Norte which prompted the people of La Fraternidad and Binuangan in the Municipality of Tubay to oppose the approval of the small-scale mining permits for nickel and cobalt of Galeo Equipment Corporation, SR Metal Incorporated and San-R Construction Corporation.
Despite these realities, “the people of Marinduque will continue to struggle for a mining-free province in order to regain the lost integrity of our island paradise. We will invoke the 50-year mining moratorium imposed by the Sangguniang Panlalwigan in 2005 and the unanimous stance of all the legislative bodies of the province to delist the San Antonio Copper Project from the mining priority list of the Arroyo Administration. We have been host to three large-scale copper & mining operations for the past 30 years but their ill-effects are still hounding our environment and the people’s health, livelihood and food security,” Magalang emphasized.
“As we celebrate today the 106th Anniversary of the Battle of Pulang Lupa, one of the rare battles where the Filipino revolutionaries won against the superior armaments of the American colonizers during the Filipino-American War, we reiterate the portion of the Marinduque Declaration ‘that our struggle for environmental justice is no different or less important than that of the illustrious MarinduqueÃ±o revolutionaries of the past who made history in the rare
victories against the Americans,'” reiterated Magalang.
He also called on all other environmental groups, anti-mining advocates and other advocacy groups “to document and expose other ‘pseudo small-scale’ mining permit applications in order to alert the people, expose to the media and effectively wage an all-out lobbying and monitoring activities in the Provincial Mining Regulatory Boards and regional offices of DENR’s Environmental Management Bureaus which process the ECCs.”