[Press Release] Local officials laud mine exploration withdrawal – ATM

Tablas Island, Romblon – Local officials and residents in Tablas Island yesterday lauded the withdrawal of mining exploration application of Ivanhoe Philippines in the province of Romblon.

In a letter dated September 30, 2011 to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Ivanhoe Philippines President Leo S. Deiparine stated that there had been a consensus decision by the board of the company to withdraw its applications ”based on Tablas as a low priority exploration target for Ivanhoe Philippines and the strong opposition of the local politicians for the approval of our applications”. Ivanhoe Philippines is a subsidiary of Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines.

“It is indeed the unity & strong opposition of the people of Romblon against mining which resulted to the withdrawal of the application for exploration permit of Ivanhoe Philippines. This is a giant step towards a mining-free Romblon,” declared lone district of Romblon Representative Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona. Madrona said he received a letter dated Sept. 23, 2011, from MGB-IVB Regional Director Roland A. De Jesus about the withdrawal.

Madrona recently filed House Bill 4815 titled ‘An Act Declaring the Province of Romblon a Mining Free Zone and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof’.

Meanwhile, Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo shared the same sentiment. “The power of the people and the political will of the leaders with the help of the civil society and religious sector clearly manifest the strong position of the province. We will continue to defend the right of our people to a balanced and healthy ecology,” he said.

Gov. Firmalo earlier issued Executive Order No. 1 imposing an indefinite ban on metallic mining in the province.

Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM), through its covenors Roman Catholic priest Msgr. Nonato Ernie V. Fetalino,, and Philippine Independent Church Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer, however, stressed that ”this victory of the people is just the beginning, the challenge to protect our islands is a life-long commitment”. He added that they are in the middle of a spiritual battle against greed and corruption. “We shall continue to defend the integrity of creation and human rights”, he concluded.

The ecumenical group further called for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995 and the passage of a new mining law to rationalize the minerals industry, protect and promote human rights and establish No-Go Zones, based on alternative minerals management bills lodged in congress.

Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), lauded the victory of the people of Romblon saying ‘the genuine commitment and struggle of the people led to the shortest advocacy campaign being supported by ATM, and one that went against a large Canadian company. If the province of Romblon can do it, the local government units and communities in other parts of the country resisting this destructive industry can now stand up more proudly to assert their power to decide.’

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.

Pearl Harder, REFAM – pearl_harder@yahoo.com / (0917) 592.79.32
Office of Gov. Eduardo Firmalo – romblongov@gmail.com / (0919) 991.73.30
Jaybee Garganera, ATM – nc@alyansatigilmina.net / (0927) 761.76.02

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