July 11, 2022 (9:15 AM)

4 min read


Photo taken from Meong Cabarde’s Facebook Page

Following the inauguration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS) called the attention of the 17th president to suspend mining, especially large-scale, open-pit mining, in the country, specifically in Mindanao. 

This action was made after PBBM announced his vision on ecotourism with the “emphasis on accessing nature’s beauty” in his inaugural speech, in which DACS argued that the mining industry has already threatened nature.

DACS retracted through a letter, saying, “the lands supposedly devoted to agri fisheries and forestry, especially in Mindanao, now face the risk of dissipation as they are converted to or endangered by mining tenements allegedly for economic gains.”

The association highlighted that economic gains could not outweigh the agricultural and food security losses should mining proceed.

“Allow mining in these areas, what would be left of this natural beauty is an abused earth unable to sustain life because we allowed extractive mining to rob our generation and future generations of the right to a balanced and healthy ecology and the right to “access to nature’s beauty,” the letter stated.

The association further elaborated on the adverse effects of mining, citing depriving the lowland farming communities of their necessary water for irrigation, killing people’s fishing industry, displacing indigenous people from their ancestral homes, and destroying hectares of forest lands and their bio-diverse flora and fauna among a few.

“Agriculture must take priority over mining in land use if we are to seriously commit ourselves to “preferential treatment” for food security,” DACS wrote. 

DACS then advised the newly-elected president to “carefully study the impacts of these mining projects relative to food supply and thoroughly review the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7094) vs. the more responsible Alternative Minerals Management Bill that has been pending In Congress for quite a while.”

The organization said that they are willing to discuss further to articulate resolutions for “a comprehensive, all-inclusive plan for economic transformation” and its implementation.

Recently, the incumbent president has also stated that he would push for “clean mining” in the country.

Mining situation in the country

The Philippines is one of the nations with the greatest mineral wealth in the world, despite its tiny size. Metallic and non-metallic mineral reserves were assessed to be 7 billion metric tons and 50 billion metric tons in 1994, making mining a reliable industry in the country. 

Despite mining operations having a substantial negative influence on the environment, one of its benefits is its direct and indirect production of employment possibilities. Still, the environmental and ecological issues in most mining-related activities, from building mining infrastructure to extracting ore and processing minerals, remain imminent.

The Tampakan Gold-Copper Mines in South Cotabato and Hallmark Mining in Barangay Macambol, Mati, were among the mining projects in Davao Oriental that are nestled in valuable watersheds within their final mining areas.

The Tampakan Gold-Copper Mines in South Cotabato was the biggest stalled mining project in Southeast Asia, producing an annual average of 375,000 metric tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold in concentrate. However, the final regulatory barrier for the stalled Tampakan copper-gold project was removed after a provincial administration in the southern Philippines changed its 12-year-old policy that prohibited open-pit mining on May 16.

On the other hand, the Hallmark Mining Corporation (HMC) and Austral-Asia Link Mining Corporation (AALMC) are Philippine companies under the management of Asiaticus Management Corporation (AMCOR). Both companies currently hold control of the Pujada Nickel Project. In a campaign headed by the Diocese of Mati, both mining companies are lodged between two protected areas: Mt Hamiguitan and Pujada Bay.

Although the Mati City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CiENRO) assured that the mining operations are four kilometers from the Pujada Bay Seascape, a protected area, DACS believed these operations would disrupt and disturb the beauty of the protected sea and landscape.

Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, who signed the letter, expressed his opposition to the Tampakan Mining Project in South Cotabato in 2020, stating that mining “is not helping the common good in the country.”

Tabora has also released a statement in response to lifting South Cotabato’s open-pit mining ban, calling it “an ordinance passed in treachery.”

End the silence of the gagged!

© 2024 Atenews

Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy