Environmentalists Dance and Dedal Against Offshore Mining in Lingayen Gulf
Dagupan City – Green group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) pushed to scrap a proposed offshore mining project in Lingayen Gulf as it joined a bike protest action last Dec. 5, 2021 dubbed as “Padyak Para Sa Kalikasan”. Led by Ecowaste Coalition and the Pangasinan People’s Strike for the Environment, environmental activists are conducting a series of activities about pressing environmental issues, particularly the Offshore Magnetite Mining Project in Lingayen Gulf.
Joaquin "Krick" Ferma Alano II, Council of Leaders of Koalisyon ng Mamamayan at Sektor ng Northern at Sentral Luzon (KUMASA NA) and Chairman of Partido Manggagawa (PM)-Pangasinan voiced out the strong opposition to the mining project, saying that “the proposed black sand mining threatens the lives and livelihoods of fisherfolk living in the areas of Sual, Labrador, Lingayen, Dagupan, Binmaley and San Fabian in the province of Pangasinan."
“Thousands of fisherfolk will be affected as they depend on fishing in the municipal waters for their everyday living,” he said. “The mining project in the long-term will also destroy the Lingayen Gulf, which is a large part of our very survival.”
According to the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), 47,435 people in 2020 were engaged in fisheries and its related activities in Pangasinan and La Union. UPMSI also
said that the mining project puts at risk the Lingayen Gulf, which is a major fishing ground with extensive mariculture activities crossing Pangasinan and La Union provinces. It reported that when the sea bed is disturbed due to mining, the gulf will be at risk of “irreversible” damage.
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said “the environment and local communities are clearly at the losing end of this project while the profiteering interests of the mining company are prioritized.” He said “there is an urgent need to stop the mining project and prevent its devastating impacts in Pangasinan and nearby provinces.”
UPMSI has explained that removing sediments offshore would deepen the seafloor, which could produce stronger waves reaching the coast and worsen flooding, especially during typhoon season. It said the coastal area would become vulnerable to both man-made and natural disasters.
“Aside from depriving communities of their livelihood, the mining project would cause even more suffering to the people as natural disasters would bring forth harsher impacts such as flooding,” Alano II added.
The offshore magnetite mining is a project of Iron Ore, Gold and Vanadium Resources (Phils.), Inc. It proposes to extract 25 million tons of black sand annually for 25 years. The FTAA for the project was approved by Malacanang on November 25, 2020, at the height of the COVID19 pandemic.
Local residents including local government officials have been protesting the blacksand mining in Lingayen Gulf. They have criticized the approval of the permit, which was granted by what they say is the “center of power of the national government”. They have also questioned if the project could continue considering that Lingayen Gulf had been classified as an environmentally critical area (ECA) in 1993.
Through creative actions and other activities, participants of the People’s Strike for the Environment vowed to continue massive opposition to the project until it is permanently shelved. #
For more details, pls contact:
Emer Perocho, ATM SoS Luzon Coordinator – 0956-7591524
Joaquin “Krick” Alano, II – Partido Manggagawa – 0943-0604255