ROMBLON Gov. Eduardo Firmalo has filed a complaint before the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region IV-B opposing the offshore mining application of Asian Palladium Mineral Resources, Inc. (APMRI) in the province.
The opposition was filed after APMRI filed an application for a financial technical assistance agreement (FTAA) for the exploration of palladium, platinum and other related mineral deposits in certain municipal waters in Tablas Island covering about 10,000 hectares.
MGB Regional Director Roland de Jesus said the complaint will be forwarded to the panel of arbitrators for resolution.
Other complainants along with Firmalo are Tomas Faminial of the Romblon State University, Joje Mesana of the Alliance of Students Against Mining (ASAM), and retired Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Orville Gabuna, from the municipality of Looc, with Rodne Galicha of The Climate Reality Project as witness.
In a letter addressed to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) outgoing Sec. Ramon Paje and incoming Sec. Regina Paz Lopez, Firmalo said that “the Province of Romblon, as a whole, we would like to inform your good office that we strongly object to the application of Asian Palladium Mineral Resources, Inc. to conduct any mining activity in the water areas of the island. No to metallic mining both on land and under the water has long been the united stand of the people of Romblon.”
The complaint was prepared by the Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) and the ASAM supported by 81,630 signatures with resolutions from the municipal and barangay levels and non-government organizations.
It batted for the protection, preservation and saving of rich marine resources and the livelihood of fisherfolk, for the people of Romblon and succeeding generations, adding the fact that Romblon is composed of critical island ecosystems.
Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer, chairperson of the REFAM, said that “the people of Romblon will continue to oppose any mining activity as we take care of God’s creation which should be used sustainably, addressing our present needs without compromising the capacity of the next generation to survive.”
In 2011, Firmalo signed a moratorium on metallic mining, and REFAM mobilized 10,000 people to oppose another mining application which eventually backed out.
Galicha, co-chair of the Economic Development Committee of MIMAROPA Regional Development Council (RDC) and country manager of The Climate Reality Project, said that “the stance of the provincial government of Romblon and its people is consistent with Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) targets, especially on sustainable communities, climate action, and life below water.”