Update on January 30, 2013
Questions: Why is still mining allowed in Mt. Hilong-Hilong by the Philippine government? Who benefits from all these?
Gina Lopez rallies Surigaonons vs. mining
By Vanessa L. Almeda on January 24 2013 7:04 am
CANTILAN, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews / 23 Jan) – Staunch anti-mining advocate Regina Lopez rallied residents in the seven towns of Surigao del Sur last Monday to oppose mining in eco-tourism sites.
Some 6,000 advocates chanted and raised their fists to mark their strong anti-mining stance against the continued degradation of an ecosystem area that has already started to grow brown and murky.
The subject of their protest is the MarcVentures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) operating in the Mt. Hilong-Hilong ranges that is seen to threaten a major river serving a major irrigation in three towns in the province.
Lopez's attendance to this quiet and rustic town sent buzzwords to locals who for months have pinned hopes of her presence so they will be able to bring their cause to national attention.
Chito Trillanes, head of the Social Action Center (SAC) in Lanuza town, said Lopez's presence "has been a long dream of our people to find a link to bring our issues to the national government."
Jeanette Palang-Zayas, municipal councilor, said they have high hopes that Lopez's presence and commitment to help in their anti-mining cause will get to the President's ear as soon as possible.
The managing director of the ABS-CBN Foundation was in provincial capital Tandag City a day before the Cantilan sojourn as part of her two-day sortie in the province.
The Cantilan gymnasium was filled to the rafters with participants from this town and neighboring areas, as well as students from local public schools, fisherfolks, farmers, women and religious groups, bank employees, retirees, and ordinary folks gathered to see Lopez.
Johnny Lugo, chair of Barangay Linintian, said 80 to 90 percent of his constituents are solid against mining.
Linintian is one of the populated barangays of this municipality, which has 17 barangays. Five barangays are opposing the operations of MMDC, which residents blamed behind the murky waters of the Cantilan River due to siltation.
Miguel Azarcon, kagawad of Barangay Parang which is close to where MMDC operates, lamented how his riceland in Sitio Tuog has turned into a brownish pond of silt. He complained of the government's alleged continued inaction against MMDC's operation that he claimed destroyed agricultural activity in the area.
More of the story here: http://www.mindanews.com/environment/2013/01/24/gina-lopez-rallies-surigaonons-vs-mining/ (http://www.mindanews.com/environment/2013/01/24/gina-lopez-rallies-surigaonons-vs-mining/)
MindaNews photo by Vanessa L. Almeda