MANILA, Jan. 18, 2011â€”Environmentalists hailed Romblon provincial governmentâ€™s executive order banning metallic mining in the province, saying the decree will ensure protection and preservation of the environment.
Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo, has on January 10, issued Executive Order No. 1 declaring an indefinite moratorium from mining after consulting with constituents on the effects of mining on health and environment.
Expressing elation on the EO, Alyansa Tigil Mina National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera said the issuance â€œwill definitely be one of the milestones for its protection and conservationâ€ of the provinceâ€™s many islands.
Romblon province is composed of islands that are rich in natural resources and biodiversity.
â€œMining as we know is a disputed economic activity that not only paves way for the destruction of the islands, but also puts the inhabitants of the islands at risk in the face of disasters such as floods and landslides,â€ he said.
The governor said the mining moratorium puts the best interest of the people in perspective.
â€œI strongly believe that the present and future health and ecological wellbeing of our people are more important to secure rather than the momentary economic benefits derived from mining operations,â€ said Firmalo.
Meanwhile, Blas Tabaranza of Haribon Foundation, said the mining ban is a welcome development as it will preserve the rich biodiversity of Romblonâ€™s three islands.
â€œBiodiversity in the Romblon province is so rich that all its three islands host important biodiversity areas: the entire Romblon island, Balogo Watershed in Tablas island, and Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park in Sibuyan island. Subspecies of the colasisi or Philippine hanging parrot, the Philippine pygmy-woodpecker, and the orange-bellied flowerpecker, plus five mammals and 54 plants, are endemic or can only be found in Sibuyan, which has often been called the Galapagos of Asia,â€ the Haribonâ€™s chief operating officer said.
Garganera said their group is giving its all out support to Firmalo and other local government units who oppose mining in their respective areas.
â€œWe continue to support Gov. Firmalo and local executives and councils who assert their local autonomy in fighting the mining industry which this government continues to revitalize and strengthen,â€ he said.
Aside from Romblon, other provinces who have issued moratorium against large-scale mining include Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Samar.
In August last year, the municipal councils of Magdiwang, Cajidiocan and San Fernando towns in Sibuyan Island signed joint memorandums 1 and 2, prohibiting and opposing mining exploration and activities in the area.
The Barangay Council of Pato-o in Odiongan, Tablas Island has likewise issued Resolution No. 11 opposing mining in the island. (CBCPNews)