Philippines: Environmentalists hold protest-dialogue to reject multinational mining in Lobo

Press release by Kalikasan PNE on 17/07/15.

 

Around 500 protesters from Lobo, Batangas trooped today in front of DENR main office to demand the disapproval of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) application of and nullify the mining permit of Mindoro Resources Limited-Egerton Gold Philippines (MRL-Egerton) in Lobo, Batangas.

 

The protest action led by Bukluran para sa Inang Kalikasan (Bukal Batangas), Archdiocese of Lipa Ministry for the Environment (AMEN) and the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) was joined by personalities like Asian gold medalist and Olympian swimmer Akiko Thompson, clean energy advocate Chips Guevarra, Asia’s Got Talent host Rovilson Fernandez, TV Anchor Atty. Karen Jimeno, and Gina Lopez of Bantay Kalikasan.
NQAdyR4jEBitHSTqLYyo0F_Q3rZF5UnZbpob_12gQ6nE1LwHJ_vBpdyb9Hduv6-Y61TyOg=w1412-h656Photo by Leon Dulce/Kalikasan PNE

 

The group also held a simultaneous dialogue with DENR Undersecretary and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director Jonas Leones and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno. During the dialogue the group asked the DENR officials why they continue to allow mining exploration in the high biodiversity and critical areas in Lobo, Batangas.

 

“Millions of metric tons of mine waste that will be produced by MRL-Egerton’s open pit mining, and the toxic waters resulting from the poisonous cyanide leaching process that they will employ employ will surely find its way to to Lobo River and the Verde Island Passage. Is the DENR unaware that the Verde Island Passage is a protected area, and that they themselves declared four different environmental conservation areas in Municipality of Lobo?,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, during the protest-dialogue.

 

“I’m not a resident of Lobo but I know how pristine and biodiverse the ecosystems in Lobo and the Verde Island Passage are. That is why I’m a here to protect its beauty and richness from destruction,” said Rovilson, who is also the national ambassador of World Wildlife Fund-Philippines.
OjdrdI6lO13zzAl8ZWQl2dM5f64BIbRWCgzATdBrYscCdkK0qCtP91XRfHLAy9cww9GdNA=w1412-h656Photo by Leon Dulce/Kalikasan PNE

 

In November 2006, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through Executive Order 578 declared the Verde Island Passage as a marine protected area.

 

DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones responded that the DENR is studying their basis if they will give or deny ECC to Egerton. “We still have no decision, pero kitang kita po namin sa dami ng dyalogo at mga protesta na malakas ang oposisyon ng mga tao sa Batangas laban sa pagmimina sa Lobo (but we can really see in the numerous dialogues and protests that the people of Batangas are opposed to mining in Lobo),” Undersecretary Leones said.

 

Meanwhile, MGB’s Leo Jasareno said that they will immediately process the cancellation or suspension of the MPSA of MRL-Egerton if the group will file a formal request to the Bureau. “We have done that in Romblon province where we suspended the MPSA of Altai Philippines Mining Co., which was situated beside the Mt. Guiting-guiting protected area,” Jasareno said.

 

Kalikasan PNE, together with the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines and the AGHAM – Advocates of Science & Technology for the People immediately submitted their position paper demanding the DENR to cancel all mining permits of MRL-Egerton, which both officials received.
3wgdHlsy-H7HsN7dAJBMFsGP7stTMPiQVZkGbxBMxI8JVZK91BipiAlJMtCbnDIxa0Icxw=w1412-h656Photo by Leon Dulce/Kalikasan PNE

 

Gina Lopez also promised that their group will submit a formal request for the cancellation of Egerton MPSA and exploration permits as well as the request to declare Mt. Lobo as a No-Mining-Zone.

 

“We will never stop our actions until we have not met our objective to stop large-scale mining in Batangas. The key in achieving this and winning our fight to defend Lobo and save the Verde Island Passage is the continuously growing resistance of Batanguenos against the effort of foreign mining companies to pillage our resources and destroy the environment. We also aim to bring the issue of mining around the VIP corridor to the international community through the upcoming International People’s Conference on Mining,” Clemente Bautista ended.

 

The International People’s Conference on Mining (www.peoplesminignconf.net) is an upcoming gathering of over 100 environmental advocates, mine workers, scientists, indigenous people, community leaders, church workers and other stakeholders from 25 different mine-affected countries to be held in the Philippines from July 30 to August 1.

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