Saturday 10 September 2011

Special Edition 2

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 Magdiwang Councillors Deceive Local Miners

Magdiwang Small Scale Gold Miners Yet to Win Their First Battle

At the second regular session of the Magdiwang Sanggunian  Bayan on 9 September, hundreds of local small scale gold miners packed the public area to hear the response of the Council to a request for favourable endorsement of their application for Small Scale Gold Miners Licences.

President of the Magdiwang Small Scale Gold Miners Association (MSSGMA) Rogelio Merida had formally presented the request to the Council on 7 September.

SB member Guillermo  Rocha, temporary Presiding Officer in the absence of the Vice-Mayor, told assembled councillors and the public that the request will be supported by the Council.

He said that within 15 days a Committee on Environment will report back to the Council with a proposed resolution in favour of Small Scale Gold Miners Licences and the Council's non-objection to small scale gold mining in the Municipality of Magdiwang, pursuant to Republic Act 7076.

Local miners left the meeting in a happy mood, thinking that their first battle had been won.

But a reliable source told the Coober Pedy News that after the miners left the building, the Council changed the number of days for the Committee on Environment to report back to the Council from 15 to 30.

President of the MSSGMA Roglio Merida said, "There is now a shadow of doubt cast on the sincerity of the Magdiwang Council. Our request was plain and simple. We got, at first appearances, a plain and simple answer. Now the Council has changed their mind behind closed doors on a decision made in public."

Editor's note: In the Coober Pedy News Special Edition of 3 September, reference was made to a total ban on mining on Sibuyan issued by the Governor of Romblon as a response to a very effective anti-mining lobby made in Magdiwang by Manila Media Executive Gina Lopez.

Below is a copy of a letter that was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the subject of the credibility of Gina Lopez as an environment advocate:

Responsible  use  is  operative  phrase

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:43 pm | Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Of the columns of Neil Cruz to which, rarely, I could not agree with was the one published in the Inquirer last June 15, in which he advocated a total ban on mining, citing the environmental “advocacy” of Gina Lopez of ABS-CBN Foundation.

To me, Ms Lopez simply lacks credibility because while she criticizes mining in Palawan and Samar, she is deafeningly silent on the environmental complaints that had been lodged against the many companies owned by her family, the Lopezes.

Case in point is Inquirer’s June 13 story about the outrage expressed by the clergy and the people of Negros against the “incursion” of the Lopez-owned Energy Development Corp. (EDC) into the Mount Kanlaon Natural Park, a protected area. (“P-Noy urged to shut down geothermal power plant”)

How about the environmental catastrophe – massive pollution of the air, soil and water table – in Bangkal, Makati, arising from the leak in the gas pipeline of the Lopez-owned First Philippine Industrial Corp. (FPIC)? Ms Lopez has not even bothered to check how FPIC has polluted an entire urban community in Makati no less, with many residents of Bangkal complaining of respiratory and other ailments blamed on the noxious fumes from the Lopez gas pipeline.

She has also chosen to be in Samar, where the mining site she visited was already shut down as early as 2002, at the same time that the people of Negros were loudly protesting the geothermal operation of EDC and its surreptitious underground tunneling into the Kanlaon protected area.

As to a total mining ban, that would be contrary to the Almighty’s edict that mankind should responsibly use Earth’s natural resources He has provided. The operative word is “responsibly,” and I believe responsible mining has already been made a reality in our country because of the landmark 1995 Philippine Mining Act.


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