MANILA, Feb. 24, 2011â€”An environmental group has called for a â€œgenuineâ€ moratorium to all large-scale mining activities across the archipelago, in a bid to salvage the remaining forests in the country.
Kalikasan Peopleâ€™s Network for the Environment (KPNE) made the appeal in a forum, attended by environmentalists and conservationists at the University of the Philippines (UP) Institute of Biology in Diliman, Quezon City.
Records show that many of the virgin forests, especially those who are considered haven for various flora and fauna, are being destroyed by mining activities of different foreign-funded, but Filipino managed, companies.
KPNE national coordinator Clemente Bautista Jr., in a statement said, that while cancellation of 600 mining permit applications, is a welcome gesture, President Benigno C. Aquino III should also consider implementing a total ban in mining, just like what he did in logging.
Bautista also said that the cancelled mining permit applications seem to be dubious as it was not made to protect the environment as some of the cancelled permits are either cancelled due to lack of necessary documents or the mining proposal is deemed speculative.
â€œAfter being â€˜cleansedâ€™ of old and incomplete mining applications, areas once closed will again be opened for mining projects and operations. A genuine mining moratorium is needed. This will greatly help in the rehabilitation and recovery [of] our degraded environment. It will allow the replenishing of our flora and fauna. Likewise, the government should also hold accountable mining companies like Marcopper in Marinduque, Oceana Gold in Nueva Vizcaya, TVI in Zamboanga del Norte, and KORES in Rapu-rapu, Albay for the environmental destruction caused by their operations,â€ said Bautista.
Loi Manalasan, president of UP Explore, meanwhile said that mining issue is not only about saving trees, animals or beautiful places in the Philippines but saving the future of the current and the next generations.
â€œThe youth should stand against large scale foreign mining operations before the time comes when what is left for us to call our country is a wasteland left by the mining companies after taking our mineral resources,â€ Manalansan said.
The group also urged Congress to repeal Mining Act of 1995 as it legalizes green crimes such as environmental degradation and corporate plunder of the countryâ€™s natural resources. (Noel Sales Barcelona)