ROMBLON, June 8, 2011?Local officials in the island province of Romblon are standing their ground against mining exploration in the area despite pressures from mining firms.
The local executives decried what they call utter disrespect to local autonomy by Ivanhoe Philippines, Inc. a subsidiary of a Canadian mining firm, which is pressuring the local government to allow it to explore despite a declared mining moratorium.
Odiongan Mayor Baltazar Firmalo in a letter sent to Ivanhoe, said he remains firm in his stand against mining and that he would not allow any exploration done in his area.
â€œI am keeping my stand against mining. This being the case, it would appear contradicting if I would allow your company to conduct any presentation of your mining exploration program in the barangays,â€ said Firmalo.
Msgr. Ernie Fetalino, chairman of Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM), an anti-mining advocacy group lauded the local officials for their uncompromising stand against mining despite threats.
â€œWe are disappointed that many of our leaders have been maligned with threats and empty promises by Ivanhoe but we are thankful that they stood firm with the will and conscience of their constituents against mining,â€ he said.
The Mining Act of 1995 requires mining companies to present its programs and plans to concerned local government units to secure certificates that would lead to the approval of a license to operate.
Odiongan vice mayor Briccio Fajutnao said Ivanhoe Philippines and other mining companies have not been granted a social license because the people have already decided against mining in the province.
â€œThe mining company cannot fool us,â€ the vice-mayor said.
Municipal councilor Bonbon Fernandez even declared that those â€œwho work for the mining company will soon be declared â€˜persona non grataâ€™.â€
â€œThe censure becomes imperative as Ivanhoe continues to break the provincial moratorium and insults the will of the people as expressed through numerous anti-mining resolutions at all levels of our local government,â€ Fernandez said. (CBCPNews)