Mayor asks pro, anti-mining groups to talk-A A +A
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
HOMONHON ISLAND, Guiuan, Eastern Samar -- The municipal mayor of Guiuan had asked both the anti and pro-mining groups to sit down and talk to avoid quarreling over their stand on the mining issue.
Speaking before hundreds of residents coming from the eight villages of Homonhon and those coming from Suluan Island and representatives of the three mining companies, Mayor Annaliza Kwan said it is better to discuss what they believe in and come up with a better understanding on how to protect the environment.
“We should respect each other’s opinion,” Kwan said, adding that she is neither for nor against mining operations. She said she just wants to take the side of the public.
“I believe in the advocacy of anti-mining and pro-mining groups because I always believe that life is a (matter of) choice,” Kwan said.
She said the three mining companies conducting operations in the island must implement their corporate responsibility in areas where they are conducting their operations.
Among which is to ensure that the other source of people’s livelihood must be protected including the infrastructure present in the island.
The three mining firms that are presently operating in the island are Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corporation, Emir Mining Resources Corporation, and Cambayas Mining Corporation.
Of the three, Mt. Sinai and Cambayas are now in full-scale operation while Emir is on the stage of exploration, with chromite as the extracted mineral.
Mining operation in the island of Homonhon is among those being criticized and asked from the government to be stopped.
On July 16, 2010, a petition spearheaded by the Homonhon Environment Rescuers Organization was sent to the Office of the President, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and to the regional office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
The petition calls for the total stoppage of all mining activities in the island and urging the concern government agencies to cause an investigation on the legalities of all mining-related activities being undertaken by all mining firms, demanding for information and geologic, ecological assessment and habitability status.
It also seeks help and assistance for agricultural and eco and historical tourism development of the island and for the creation of law declaring the whole island as a protected area in relation to its historical importance.
On February 2, Bishop Crispom Varquez of the Borongan Diocese had asked the government to impose a moratorium on mining in Eastern Samar.
He said the operations of mining in the province does not guarantee responsible mining, environment protection and rehabilitation, adding that it created conflict among residents and dividing the people.
Varquez also cited that the cases of large-scale mining operations in the islands to include in Manicani, also in Guiuan, for several years now caused “broad-scale” habitat destruction.
In 2003, Eastern Samar’s Provincial Government, under then Governor Clotilde Japzon-Salazar, imposed an indefinite moratorium on large-scale mining and logging operations in the province.
In 2007, however, former governor and now Representative Ben Evardone approved an ordinance setting aside sizeable portions of land exclusively to small-scale mining.
Just this month, Evardone filed in Congress House Bill 5898 that seeks to declare the entire province of Eastern Samar as “mining-free”. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)