Mining risks

For the last three weeks, three mining-related accidents were reported in Tablas (one) and Sibuyan (two) islands. It is undeniable that these events happened within election period. While we oppose large-scale mining which is a ridge-to-reef (watershed continuum) issue affecting our fragile small island-ecosystems, we are very concerned of the continuous and gradual destruction of our mountains by small-scale miners. We are saddened of the unfortunate plight of our folks engaging in small-scale mining. Looking at this complex situation, we understand that they need to work to make a living knowing that their lives are at risk. In a broader context, it is very clear that there is a lack of sustained livelihood opportunities and delivery of basic social services, leaving some people with no choice but to take a risk with pressures from big financiers who only think of profits over safety and protection of human rights and environment. This election, let everyone exercise their rights to choose those who have political will genuinely looking at the needs of the people, addressing them with transparency and full participation of the community. Indeed, ‘political will is a renewable resource’. However, the provincial government cannot do so much, the national government must intervene according to the recent policies set by them, and the local governments need to fully cooperate, with the participation of and partnership with the civil society and private sector.

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