Gina Lopez, Ms Earth runners-up join Sibuyan, Romblon Officials’ launching of Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! Campaign
More than a thousand residents of Sibuyan Island in the province of Romblon marked Earth Day (April 22) with the rejection of mining approval and applications through a simultaneous caravan and prayers through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecological protection.
Ten thousand prayer cards with the image of the saint were embedded along the seven-kilometer stretch national highway in San Fernando town. They were joined by Bantay Kalikasan Managing Director Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo.
Gina Lopez, champion of eco-tourism said: “Let us eradicate poverty through eco-tourism and the protection of the environment with integrity and compassion. Mining will destroy the beauty of Sibuyan Island, choose candidates who will defend the environment – for God, country and people!”
Considered as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspot, Sibuyan Island has been dubbed by conservationists as Galapagos of Asia: home to the world’s densest forest and the country’s cleanest inland body of water, river category, the Cantingas River. The whole island is protected as it has been proclaimed as a mangrove swamp forest reserve and its core zone is the Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park.
“Protected as it is, a large-scale mining permit has been granted by former environment Secretary Lito Atienza through a midnight deal three days before he resigned in 2009 opening almost 1,500 hectares of land for mineral production sharing agreement,” said Mayor Dindo C. Rios of San Fernando, Romblon.
“The national government’s Mining Industry Coordinating Council or MICC mandated by President Aquino’s Executive Order No. 79 must review the approved agreement as soon as possible, thus, we are strongly calling the members of the council to visit our island and see for themselves how delicate our island is,” stressed Mayor Rios.
Different churches and religions through an ecumenical forum have gathered petitions and more than 120 thousand signatures to halt mining in the province of Romblon especially in Sibuyan Island. They are calling to uphold the integrity of creation.
Fr. Noel Sixon, parish priest of Our Lady of Remedies Parish said: “We must protect creation, the earth is abused and dying. We must save Sibuyan Island, God-given gift to us. I will not endorse names in the coming elections but choose candidates who are pro-God, pro-People, pro-Family and pro-Environment.”
Joining Sibuyan Island Earth Day Celebrations, and endorsing Tao Muna Hindi Mina 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz said: “We should protect, preserve and conserve our environment for us and the future generations to come; let us make everyday Earth Day.”
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