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27 November 2011

Save Palawan Movement

299549_10150273729740892_596240891_7949538_5628475_nTiffy | Save Palawan Movement
November 21, 2011
Press Event

You've probably heard about it before: people have been trying to stop mining in Palawan.

According to their press release, Save Palawan Movement is not against all mining but that they believe that key biodiversity sites--especially island ecosystems--should be off-limits.

So why Palawan?

As the "Last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines", Palawan boasts of mangroves, coral reefs, 17 "Key Biodiversity Areas, 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and 8 declared protected areas.

Part of the concerns that were raised was how it negatively affects the food supply of the surrounding areas. They cited mining company Citinickel's mining activities in Narra, a rice granary in Palawan, as a culprit in the demise of farmers and fishermen alike in the area. 

Gina Lopez, the managing director of ABS-CBN, added that fingers are usually pointed at small-scale miners for most of the negative effects of mining but that large-scale mining companies are the ones who have major accidents that result to really bad situations. 

If it's any consolation, however, I personally think that at the very least--large-scale mining companies are easier to regulate than small-scale miners and are more accountable for whatever mishaps that they are at fault of. 

Gina Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBN

Also in attendance was Dr. Antonio La Viña, who gave a talk on a draft report on the background and overview on the future of mining in the Philippines. 

Of course, two hours is not enough to cover all the different aspects of the issue. And, especially for PR events such as this, the aim is to pique human interest in the issue, not to give a comprehensive talk on mining and its impacts.

In one of my classes in the university, my professor briefly shared her thoughts on mining. The demand for mining is there, but how can we regulate the activity in such a way that we gain from it? And what of the communities surrounding the different mining sites? Surely they have the right to live in an unpolluted area without fear for their health due to the contamination of their environment. 

But is there such a thing as sustainable mining? 

As one of the audience, I didn't feel that they were just trying to stop mining in Palawan. Most, if not all, of the audience wanted to stop mining, period. We have more to lose from it: data from an economic study shows that people in the mining industry are getting poorer and the economic divide within this industry is increasing. 

As it is now, I think that the movement has already won in a way--it opens up the issue for discourse. 

So if you agree with the movement's aim, feel free to drop by to sign the petition. 

Also an interesting read:

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