Friday, June 21, 2013

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Ilocos Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson on the issue of 'Mining in Ilocos Sur'



October 14, 2011 when I and two of my classmates got an exclusive interview with the governor. He answered the questions that plague the province.

Research shows that Cabugao, Candon, Narvacan,Sinait, Sta. Cruz and Vigan are the sites of mining in the province.Chavit confirmedthat almost all the towns in Ilocos Sur are mining sites but there are no activities yet.

He also enumerated the specific locations of the mining sites - gold in Quirino, Cervantes, Sto. Domingo and Magsingal; white clay (for cement) in Sto. Domingo and Magsingal; and black sand in all most all the towns along the shoreline.


The governor also reacted on the news that the Provincial Government allowed the mining companies to do mining in places which identified in geohazard map. According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, these towns are Cervantes, Salcedo, Vigan, Narvacan, Cabugao and Candon. He already gave an order to stop mining across the province except in San Vicente. In other places, he let the initiators do sampling for future purposes. Usually, he allows tests so that the government will know the natural resources of the province.

He also insisted that he is against mining if it is irresponsible. He said, he is for mining if it is responsible meaning the people concerned approves it and all safety measures are being conducted.

“Wrong impression lang ang mga tao kasi. Ang black sand, according to DENR, ‘yong kukunin ay 15% lang hindi iyong akala nila na kukunin lahat. Iyong 85% ibabalik at puwedeng itambak sa shoreline. Ang batas, they have to put up infrastracture. Maglagay sila ng barangay hall, basketball court, iskuwelahan, gawin ‘yong kalsada, 100% approved by the people and nandoon na lahat ‘yong safety,” Chavit added.


He also confirmed that only the application in San Vicente was approved. Four applications for onshore and offshore blacksand mining for magnetite in Tagudin, four in Sta.Cruz, five in Sta. Lucia, four in Candon City, four in Santiago, four in San Esteban, five in Sta. Maria, five in Narvacan, eight in Santa, five in Caoayan, four in Sta.Catalina and four in Vigan City are not yet approved.

We asked about the benefits of mining to the public and he replied taxes, infrastractures and investments will come to the government.

Who is behind the black sand mining in Ilocos Region?
Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) revealed that 80 percent of the black sand mining operations in the area are controlled by the Canadian company, Colossal Mining. Exploration and mining permits given to Colossal Mining will allow them to explore at least 15,700 hectares of offshore areas in North Western Luzon.

Philippine Mining Industry 
The damage wrought by mining upon the environment and local communities, coupled with the lack of significant contributions to the Philippine economy has prompted various groups, from environmental advocates to the Church, to halt mining activities in the Philippines. Militant groups, however, have raised concerns over the anti-mining stance, pointing out that extracting and utilizing minerals are necessary for modernization.

After all, as mining serves only foreign interests and caters to the demands of the world market, the large-scale plunder of the country’s minerals continues unabated, and extracted materials are used for the economic gain of other countries.

As mountains and lands are drilled to extract minerals for export, the damage and destruction of the environment and the displacement of communities are often inevitable.  However, strict government regulation over extractions will minimize its adverse effects on communities and the environment,  while providing the resources needed for the modernization of the manufacturing and agriculture industries.

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Author: Paul Michael Camania Jaramillo

Student| Youth Advocate | Leader | Environmental Advocate | Writer | Blogger | RH Advocate

I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious. — Albert Einstein
I write about darkness because I want to show the light — Jose Rizal


He has been involved in different advocacy and defending human rights. As a blogger, writer, netizen and an advocate, he has found focus & interest on sexuality & reproductive health, deaf rights & legal access and youth development, leadership, environment advocacy, issues in the nation and in the world, religion, culture and human rights At the age of 14, he has fully embraced the call of leadership.

He was a Lussoc National High School 'The Sring' and 'Ang Batis' news editor. A radical visionary leader, he has led organizations of the Supreme Student Government, Science Club, Youth for Environment in Schools Organization, Interact Club, Math Club, Philippine National Red Cross and other organizations in their institution. He was also awarded as a distinguished student leader as a former officer of the Supreme Student Government and received President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Campus Journalism Award. He attended two National Leadership Training for the Student Government Officers, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Youth for Environment Summer Camp, Science Leaders Congress and Schools Press Conference. Joined and won in the several contests from their school to the national level.

Paul is a BS Accountancy student at the Northwestern University. He works for CBAA Biznews and  The Blog of Innocence: SilentVoice Points. He is the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Ilocos Chairperson. CEGP is the oldest and broadest intercollegiate alliance of student publications in the Asia-Pacific.


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