Romblonanons unveil the country’s 1st anti mining monument Commemorates the province biggest protest against mining

Press Release

February 14, 2012

Romblonanons unveil the country’s 1st anti mining monument

Commemorates the province biggest protest against mining

Tablas, Romblon—Today advocates joined the unveiling of Romblon’s Anti-Mining Memorial to commemorate the biggest protest against mining fought by the Church, Local Government Leaders and its people.

The first of its kind in the country, the anti mining memorial will remind the people of their effort to strongly face and counter the entry of large scale mining firms in Romblon.

Gov. Eduardo C. Firmalo said, “Today we commemorate the unity of our people to uphold the dignity of life and environment. As a person and public servant, I continue to adhere to the principles of genuine sustainable development, which will not sacrifice the capacity of future Romblonanons to survive. We maintain that local government units have the autonomy to defend the general welfare; at the end it is our people who will be left and will suffer. Metallic mining has no room in the province, and to follow the priority industries of President Noynoy Aquino: we should focus on agriculture, tourism and infrastructure.”

Romblon’s struggle started in 2006 when 8,000 people gathered to protest against mining in Sibuyan where anti-mining activist Armin Marin was killed the following year by an employee of Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corporation. In 2011, more than 12,000 people gathered in Tablas Island to protest against another big mining company Ivanhoe Philippines Inc (wholly owned by Ivanhoe Canada) which applied for a permit to explore approximately 14,000 hectares of land in Tablas Island but decided to withdraw in September 30 that same year due to people’s and local government’s opposition.

“We hope that the proposed mining policy reform order of President Aquino will uphold the decision of my constituents, recognize and further respect the mandate of the local government officials to defend the general welfare, health and security of all and the future generations to come.” Firmalo continued.

Msgr. Nonato Ernie V. Fetalino, administrator of the Diocese of Romblon and adviser of Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) explained: “For nine months we have united all our voices and efforts but it is a lifetime commitment to defend the integrity of creation. We look at our environment as significant source of life and we are called to maintain the balance of ecosystem, we are stewards and we are not called to abuse it. It is our spiritual duty to defend the dignity of life.”

Ivanhoe’s main reason for pulling out from Tablas Island was the lack of support from local officials and unresponsive communities, it said in its letter to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Meanwhile, Cong. Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona is currently pushing for House Bill 4815 that will declare Romblon as a mining no-go zone.

“This is the voice of our people not to allow mining in the province. This biggest legacy we can leave for the province—to make our province a better place to live in with a balance and healthful ecology. We hope the House Bill 4815 will soon be passed as a law,” added Madrona.

Today, as the people remember their struggles against mining in Romblon, they also reaffirm their position against the destruction of the Philippine environment and the policies that allow mining to be one of the country’s priority industries.

“We shall continue to stand up for God and our country’s patrimony. The Mining Act of 1995 has been the root-cause of division among communities and continuously degrading the environment. We cannot permit this to happen in the province. We call for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995 and urgent enactment of the consolidated alternative mining bills pending in the House of Representatives,” Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer, Bishop of Iglesia Filipina Independiente and Chairman of REFAM concluded.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) 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 the passage of the Philippine Mineral Resources Act a.k.a. Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

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For more information:

Gov. Eduardo Firmalo, romblongov@gmail.com

Cong. Eleandro Jesus Madrona, doymadrona@yahoo.com, doymadrona@congress.gov.ph

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02, nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Rodne Galicha, ATM Sites of Struggle Officer, sos@alyansatigilmina.net

Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy & Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

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