ATTENTION: THE SECRETARY
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and
Mine and Geo-Sciences Bureau
A PETITION FROM THE PEOPLE OF HOMONHON ISLAND SPEARHEADED BY HOMONHON ENVIRONMENT RESCUERS ORGANIZATION – HERO, A PEOPLES ORGANIZATION IN THE ISLAND OF HOMONHON, GUIUAN, EASTERN SAMAR CALLING FOR THE TOTAL STOPPAGE OF ALL MINING ACTIVITIES IN HOMONHON ISLAND, URGING THE CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO CAUSE AN INVESTIGATION ON THE LEGALITIES OF ALL MINING RELATED ACTIVITIES BEING UNDERGONE AND PRESENTLY ENGAGING BY ALL MINING FIRMS/CLAIMANT WITHIN HOMONHON ISLAND, DEMAND INFORMATION ON THE GEOLOGIC, ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT AND HABITABILITY STATUS OF THE ISLAND, SEEKING HELP AND ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL AND ECO AND HISTORICAL TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FOR HOMONHON, DEMAND TO RECLASSIFY ITS LAND USE TO ALLIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE LAND AND URGING TO TAKE MEASURES FOR THE CREATION OF A LAW DECLARING OR PROCLAIMING THE WHOLE ISLAND OF HOMONHON A PROTECTED AREA IN RELATION FOR ITS HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE, VULNERABILITY TO NATURAL CALAMITIES BEING A SMALL ISLAND AND TO SAVING OF AND RESTORING ITS NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND HABITAT TO WIT:
That, Homonhon is an Island with a small land area supporting to Eight (8) Barangays and home to more or less Ten Thousand (10,000) people. It is topographically bounded by wide areas of deep seas and characterized by big and violent waves being exposed to the Pacific Ocean. In many instances during the stormy season which oftentimes consumes 3/4th of the year, the Island becomes isolated from the rest of the world. With severe destruction of its dry lands due to mining activities, natural calamities are inevitable leaving no safer place for its inhabitants to survive.
That according to Records, Homonhon Island is still classified as Timberland irrespective of its long time occupation and cultivation by our ancestors abd we hereto demand for the reclassification of its land use to become agricultural.
That, the natural environment and ecosystem of Homonhon Island is already suffering from the adverse effect of mining and other illegal activities against nature such are severe degradation of its natural environment, severe potable water shortage and depletion of the sources an means of subsistence of the Island people and had left the habitability of the Island to a critical condition whereby violates our right to development and a healthy and balanced environment.
That, the people of Homonhon Island had not been justifiably informed of the mining plan for the Island and the environmental impact statement along with the geologic and ecological study on the areas affected by mining and the preventive measures and contingency plan to address for potential environmental consequences, hence, these are violations of PD 1586 and RA 7160 Sec. 26 and 27 or a violation of our right to be informed on matters of public concerned.
That, mining in Homonhon Island was, had never been and we believe, will never be sustainable in all sense of the word. The Island had experienced mining operation for more than Twenty Five (25) years and the prospects of socio-economic progress perceived to be brought by the extractions and production of minerals had remained a myth, or had it been realized, it would have had manifested now in the lives of the majority of Homonhon people. The Island’s economy and its facilities should have had improved to a certain level, but yet, Homonhon Island generally remained poor and under-develop. With the systematic seizure and encroachment of the farms, farmlands and watersheds by these mining firms manifested with the posting of “No Trespassing” placards at the passageway and within the farms itself, residents are apprehensive to go farming causing them economically unstable. Thus, mining does not only destroy the eco-system, it also deprived of the right of the people in Homonhon Island is not only unaccommodating and unhelpful, it also deprived the right of its people to their means and sources of subsistence, their right to livelihood and their freedom of movement and we hereto demand for social justice.
That, fishing and farming is the very still main sources of income and livelihood of most of Homonhonanons and these are the strength and determination that we considered as the baseline for a sustainable development. Mining hampers the development of the Island for it destroys the primary resources that provide space and substance to the work and livelihood we are accustomed to and satisfied to do.
That, as rational beings, we, Homonhonanons definitely do not despise development, and by a long way acquainted with the situations in the Island being its inhabitants, we are convinced that only through the introduction and promotion of efficient farming and fishing technology and other agricultural development projects along with the rehabilitation of its forestlands and watersheds can the Island moves to progress. A variety of crops and fruit trees had been proven to thrive in the area over the years and it has been the primary sources of income of many of the Island folks which brought them to become economically secured. By awarding these farms and farmlands to miners, the threat for the destruction of these valuable crops and other means and sources of subsistence is present and this may infuse chaos to the residents and generate disagreements with the people openly pushing for mining in the area.
That, we never wanted to become another Bagacay of Western Samar or Guinsaugon of Southern Leyte, and they like.
That, mining per se is not bad but digging massively and destroying gradually and leisurely the environment of small Islands like Homonhon and Manicani is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.
That, according to Wikipedia, an encyclopedia of knowledge, Homonhon Island was the first landfall of Ferdinand Magellan and his crew on March 16, 1521. This event signaled for the birth of a new nation later called the Philippines, our nation, hence, its value is worth protecting and saving from any form of environmental destruction or degradation for it is vital to our history and our national identity.
That, as citizens of the Republic, we come to claim our right to information on matters of public concern, our right to freedom of expression, our right to means and sources of subsistence, our right to self-determination, our right to development and a healthy and balanced environment, and above all our right to life and dignity as persons, and we say “No to Mining in Homonhon Island”.
That, we seek the sincerity and political will of all government agencies concerned to support, assist and help in the promotion for the sustainable development of Homonhon Island by putting an end to the mining activities within and by allocating enough resources and technologies for the promotion of agriculture and eco and historical tourism for the Island for these, we are more convinced the Island and its people can be more productive, self-sufficient and become economically secured thereby contributing their share of responsibility towards the realization of the development goals of our nation.
With these and more, OUR prayers and hopes that all concerned for this matter may gave appropriate and preferential actions to our calls.
Done this 16th day of July, 2010. Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern
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