29 April 2013
Hundreds gathered in mining-affected areas in PH
Launched Tao Muna Hindi Mina! Campaign
Quezon City – Thousands of advocates, indigenous peoples, children and women, and electoral candidates gathered last April 22 and 23 in commemoration of Earth Day and to join the launching of a “Tao Muna, Hindi Mina!”
Tao Muna-Hindi Mina! Campaign puts large-scale mining as a major electoral issue that candidates should be able to respond to and to remind the government of the peoples demand for a moratorium on large scale mining.
Actions led by mining-affected communities and support groups
Groups from mining-affected communities and localities threatened by entry of mining in their areas organized signature campaigns and mobilizations in their local centers to raise awareness on the campaign and gather more support from the peoples. The areas in Luzon include Lallo in Cagayan, Iba and Sta Cruz in Zambales, Puerto Princesa City and Brooke’s Point in Palawan, Kasibu in Nueva Vizcaya, Sibuyan in Romblon.
In Cagayan, Candidates from Governor down to the municipal mayor joined the gathering in Lallo and signed a covenant with the people in support of the 10-Point Human Rights Agenda on Mining.
In Brooke’s Point, 300 participants from indigenous communities, Church, farmers and fisher folks attended. LGU candidates also attended the program and delivered statements of support and signed the 10-Point Human Rights Agenda on Mining tarpaulin to show their commitment. IP leaders (Panglima) from Brgys. Malis, Salogon, Samareniana, Saraza, Oring-oring, Amas, Pangobilian, Mainit, Aribungos, Ipilan, Mambaloy and Maasin graced the event.
In Nueva Vizcaya, more than 200 gathered at Brgy Pao, Kasibu to commemorate Earth Day and protest the illegal entry of the drilling machines that will be used for exploration activities by Royalco/Buena Suerte Mining Corporation. Leaders and people from Brgys Malabing, Pacquet, Siguem, and Didipio are among those who participated.
Photos by Jonal Javier
Sambal people, on the other hand, organized a 12-vehicle motorcade and rally in Sta. Cruz led by Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz. Then in Iba, 100-strong advocates from Olongapo, Subic, Cabangan, Botolan, Iba and Sta Cruz gathered in the Capitol. The representatives from the different areas shared their opposition to mining and how it impacts their livelihood and threatens their lands.
The Chairperson of the Provincial Board Committee on Environment Eric Ebarle was there to listen and join the people in advocating for a healthful environment; he said Zambales should protect its forests, mountains and water bodies and maximize them to promote tourism.
Meanwhile, in MacArthur, Leyte, Unahin Natin Lagi Ang Diyos-Bito Lake Fisherfolks Association gathered at the site where hundreds of activists put up a barricade to stop mining. It was in Villa Imelda where fish kills were found to be partly due to water contamination from mine wastes.
In Mindanao, thousands gathered in Surigao City, Agusan del Sur, Saranggani and Koronadal City in South Cotabato.
On Earth Day, April 22, Led by SAC-Tandag, Nagpakabana nga Carcanmadcarlanon (NnC), anti-mining and environmental groups from Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur gathered at the DENR-MGB office and demanded that MGB Dir. Roger de Dios resign from his post. Rallyists planked in front of the MGB in commemoration of Earth Day.
They were also joined by Iglesia Filipina Independiente priests and laymen from Dinagat, Siargao Island and Surigao City, and the United Church of Christ of the Philippines and some 3,000 members of the Nagkahiusang Gagmay’ng Minero (Nagami) and their families.
Groups in Dinarawan, Lake Mainit in Agusan del Sur for their part, opted for a solemn protest rally and candle lighting. The people remain strong in their stand against mining in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.
Tao Muna, Hindi Mina Online Campaign
Meanwhile, endorsers of Tao Muna Hindi Mina! also launched an online campaign to raise awareness on the different negative impacts of large-scale mining in the country. As of today, more than 100 supporters have posted their photos holding posters of Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! and sharing them to their Facebook friends.
Leaders and organizers of the campaign are hopeful that this will inform the electorates; especially at the local level whom to put in key positions and at the same time get a positive response from future leaders that they will support the call to prioritize communities rights over the failed promises of mining companies.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact 0921-9645017 (Egay) or 0923-5122374 (Farah).