Sibuyanons push for total ban against mining thru educational forums around the island
SOS Article | June 23, 2022
“Baktas Talakayan para sa Sibuyan” was launched today by residents of three municipalities namely San Fernando, Magdiwang at Cajidiocan to generate support for the total ban on mining through educational forums and a signature campaign.
The initiative aims to inform the public of the continued operations of Altai Phils. Mining Inc. and the negative impacts of mining on the environment and communities.
Beth Ibanez, Sibuyanon Against Mining (SAM) Coordinator, said “we likewise demand that local government units from the provincial, municipal and barangays of the whole of Romblon, issue a resolution against mining.”
Baktas Talakayan will be conducted over a period of five days, where around 60 participants will trek around the island of Sibuyan and conduct educational discussions. The trek will start in Brgy. España, where SB Armin, a resident of the place died due to mining.
Upon the lifting of the Cease and Desist Order by the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) last September 2021, mining has again become active in the island. Altai Phils. Mining Inc. resumed its mining activities and is currently going around the barangays to convince residents of the supposed benefits of mining.
On May 27, 2022, Altai Mining conducted a public hearing participated by representatives of the corporation and their workers. Anti-mining residents also attended the hearing and held a silent protest.
“Anti-mining residents have again started to conduct an information drive on the harmful impacts of mining. We are also leading actions and coordinating with local officials to ensure that Altai Mining ceases to operate,” Ibanez said.
According to Ibanez, Brgy. Taclobo has passed a resolution against mining while Brgy. Espana has promised in its regular session that it will also pass its own version of a resolution. The Sangguniang Bayan has already passed a resolution last June 6.
Ibanez pointed out that some residents have been persuaded to work in the mines because the company has offered to pay each worker Php800 a day.
“We are disheartened by this though we understand that people need to work. This is why we are going around the islands to explain to our fellow residents the negative impacts of mining and why they must support the call for a total ban on mining. Overall, the cost of mining to the environment and the people far outweighs the measly benefit of jobs offered. ”
Through the initiative, the residents of Sibuyan hopes to reach concerned national agencies and register their firm resistance against mining. They vow to reach out to as many groups and individuals during their 5-day trek in order to broaden the movement against mining.
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