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Romblon municipality rejects mining deal

The municipality of San Fernando in Sibuyan, Romblon, will not be involved in processing Fil-China Mining Development Corporation’s application for a mineral production sharing agreement, Mayor Dindo C. Rios said Monday.
Fil-China submitted an application in January 1994 to the Mines Bureau for a mineral production sharing agreement to mine and develop feldspar, a mineral used for glass and ceramics manufacturing.
The said agreement gives a contractor the exclusive right to conduct mining operations within a certain area, while the government shares in the gross production earnings.
In an August 13 letter to Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional director for MIMAROPA Roland de Jesus, Rios justified San Fernando’s position by citing a provision in mining Executive Order (EO) 79 that specifies protected areas must be spared from mining.
“The whole island is a protected area as a mangrove swamp forest reserve pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 2152,” Rios said in a statement.
He also clarified that Sibuyan Island is a Tourism Development Area. These areas are identified as no-go zones for mining.
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) hailed the Romblon LGU for “protecting their islands and recognizing that mining activities will further aggravate the susceptibility to landslide and flooding of many areas in the municipality.”
“It was just disappointing that the Department of Environment pushes for projects in areas closed to mining,” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator.
“Even before the EO was released, there are already existing policies protecting Sibuyan including a local legislation opposing mining in the island,” he added.
ATM is an alliance of communities in mining areas with support from non-government organizations and the civil society.
The group opposes the promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. It is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A and repeal of the Mining Act of 1995. — AL/VS, GMA News