Zambalenos TO DENR: Stop destructive mining in Sta Cruz, Candelaria, DECIDE NOW!

Zambales – Angry, impatient and desperate for government action–this is the current disposition of the people of  Sta. Cruz and Candelaria, after Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Dir. Leo Jasareno has not yet acted on alleged violations of Benguet Mining Corp., (complete the company name of DMCI) DMCI, Eramen Minerals Inc., and Filipinas Mining Corp/LAMI.

In a letter sent by Dr. Benito Molino, chairperson of Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz Zambales (CCOS) to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Ramon Paje, Molino strongly urged DENR and MGB to come up with a decision as soon as possible.

“These mining companies have brought so much environmental, economic and social loss to Sta. Cruz and Candelaria. We have been waiting for a decision long enough. We’ve had enough”, Dr.  Benito Molino, CCOS Chairperson said.

In 2012, CCOS already attempted to get DENR’s attention to stop the mining operations in Sta. Cruz and Candelaria due to damages and violations caused by mining to their rivers and lands. CCOS believes that the four major mining companies polluted the shore of Lipay and Poblacion South and Panalabawan and Alinsaog rivers with heavy siltation of nickel laterite. This has rendered 200 hectares of fishponds in Brgy. San Fernando unproductive.

The mining operations have also been blamed for the massive laterite inundation that caused destruction of farmlands in the area.  Presently, more than 300 hectares of farmlands have already been destroyed which has caused farmers of Sta. Cruz and Candelaria millions worth of income.

Despite two (2) years of continuous people actions, CCOS only received a decisive response from DENR and MGB February this year. Dir. Jasareno personally attended the site visits and investigation to the areas and facilitated the dialogue between the mining companies and the complaining organizations. It was during this dialogue that Jasareno promised all of the parties concerned that MGB will issue its decision in one month after the visit..

“We want the mining operations in Sta. Cruz and Candelaria to stop. They have already caused so much damage in not just our bodies of water, lands, air, and roads, but to our people’s livelihood and health as well. We demand that these mining companies rehabilitate our damaged environment and compensate our people from all their destruction to the environment and properties, and the people’s lives and health. Nickel laterite is harmful to human life. We demand the return of all nickel laterite that buried our rivers, farms, fishponds and the sea to the mountains. Director Jasareno has had a first-hand experience in seeing the violations that the mining companies have obviously committed, what more proof do DENR and MGB need to cease the mining operations?” Dr. Molino said.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), a partner organization of CCOS supports the call to stop mining in Zambales, stating that these activities will not only affect the environment but also the people ’ s lives.

“Mining in the area, as seen by Dir. Jasareno himself is destructive and unacceptable, and we await his orders to stop the activities there. Zambales has been badly affected by typhoons in the past years, if mining will continue, we are afraid that more floods, siltations and landslides will occur—meaning lives will be at risk,” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator.

###

Concerned Citezens of Zambales is a non-stock non-profit organization that advocates and supports positive and sustainable societal change in the town of Sta. Cruz, especially in the sector of environment, health and human rights.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.

 

For more information:

Dr. Benito Molino, CCOS Director, (0916) 372.71.84 <ben696molino@yahoo.com>
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0917) 549.82.18  <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Research & Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61 <policy@alyansatigilmina.net>
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 <checkzab@gmail.com>

Check F. Zabala

Media and Communications Officer
Alyansa Tigil Mina National Secretariat
c/o Haribon Office, 2F Santos and Sons Bldg.
#973 Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City.
Telephone: +63 (02) 434-4642
Fax: +63 (02) 434-4696

Leave A Comment