Protest vs closure of mining firms continues

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STA CRUZ, Zambales: Residents in this town on Thursday vowed to continue their protest against the closure of four mining companies that left many of them without livelihood.

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Orlan Mayor, spokeperson of the Coalition of Mine Workers, Families and Communities (CMWFC), said aside from job loses, the scholarships of students and other social development programs supported by the companies are in danger of being pulled out if the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will not lift the suspension of the mining firms soon.

Region 3 Director Danilo Uykieng, officer in charge of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau under the DENR, ordered the suspension Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Inc., and LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. last month after they failed to pass a regulatory evaluation of their operations.

Mayor said the suspension of these companies has affected more than 3,000 workers who rely on mining jobs to support their families.

Zambales, which is rich in nickel and chromite, has attracted large-scale mining companies.

Mayor said the prospects of finding jobs for the displaced workers are also dim since the only other source of livelihood in the province is farming.

“Malaking tulong ang trabaho namin sa minahan, wala naman ibang trabaho dito sa probinsiya maliban dyan. Pwede naman mag saka pero seasonal lang naman yun [Working at the mine is a big help, there is no other job in this province aside from that. We can farm but it is just seasonal],” explained Mayor.

He added: “Paano na yung pamilya nung libong mangagawa ng minahan kung patuloy kaming walang trabaho? [What will happen to the thousands of workers if we continue to be jobless?]”.

On Monday, thousands of protesters, including students, farmers and others sectors which the companies have been supporting, trooped to the provincial capitol to seek an audience with Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to air their grievances.

Ebdane, for his part, promised to endorse the workers’ plea to the DENR for the lifting of the suspension order.

Ebdane told the protesters that the province needs the mining industry for economic growth and at the same time, he also urged the mining companies to operate responsibly.

Ebdane said he will veto an ordinance should the Sangguniang Panlalawigan pass one declaring Zambales as mining free.

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3 Comments

  1. Quote”Patuloy Tayong Niloloko ng mga Miniro, Lokal na Opisyales ng Gobeyrno at Bayarang Media.

    Ang mga lokal na opisyales noon ang nagbigay ng endorso para magkaroon ng pagmimina…. nang mayroon na ng operasyon, sa batas sila ay kasama sa multipartite monitoring team para tugygayan ang operasyon ng pagmimina para siguruhing hindi masira ang kapaligiran… quarterly ito ginagawa, pero ang kanilang quarterly report kasama ang mga opisyales ng mgb at emb sa region ay maayos ang operasyon ng lahat ng mga miniro at walang perwisyong dulot sa kapaligiran…. sanitized and natatanggap na report ng national MGB at DENR…. maayos na napiringan ng mga miniro ang mga mata ng mga lokal na opisyales at iba pang kalahok sa MMT… pareho pa ang paliwanag ng mga lokal na opisyales at mga miniro na hindi mapapatigil ang pagmimina kahit may perwisyo dahil ang permit ay galing sa national government. Wala daw magawa ang mga lokal na opisyales sa mga perwisyo.
    Ang Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz (CCOS) lamang ang nagpaabot ng kakaibang report kay Sec Paje ng DENR noong kalagitnaan ng 2012. Ito na ang naging daan para sunod-sunod na ang ginawang imbestigasyon ng EMB3 at nitong Pebrero 19 2014 ay napilitang bumaba si Central MGB Office Director Jasareno para makita ang perwisyo dahil muli tayong sumulat kay Sec Paje na pagkaraan ng halos dalawang taon nating reklamo, ang pagkasira ng kapaligiran ng Sta Cruz ay lalong lumala. Napatunayan ng mga ginawang imbestigasyon ang perwisyo sa kapaligiran kasama na ang natabunang mga palaisdaan, nasirang mga ilog, sakahan, at dagat. Nalason na din ang hanging hinihinga ng mga tao. Ito ang mga dahilan kung bakit nasuspendi ang operasyon ng pagmimina.
    UUlitin ko lumawak ang perwisyo sa kapaligiran dahil epektibong napiringan ng mga miniro ang MMT na kasama ang lokal na opisyales at mga kawani ng EMB at MGB sa rehiyon. Ang malawak na perwisyo sa kapligiran ang dahilan ng suspension. Kaya malinaw na ang dahilan ng suspension ay ang mga miniro…

  2. The issue at hand is compliance to existing laws regarding mining and the environment by these mining firms. This is what the four mining firms should address and not hide in the valid issue of job generation which is a basic ingredient for their operations to cover up for their failure to comply with existing laws.

  3. How were this people making it before there was this mines. They get a taste of little money and they get greedy, it is okay to strip and ruin the land for future generations. This mines are just going to fix your sorry lot for a little bit and then they move on to go and ruin another community. If you are going to let them mine this land then the mining company should give more of the share of the money to this people. This is what the mayor should be trying to negotiate. Ops I forgot he is a government official, he must have been paid.