By: Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (10 December) – With the mounting call of the Biliranons to put an end to the on-going and future mining operations in the province of Biliran, Representative Glenn A. Chong of the Lone District of Biliran officially voiced his opposition by pointing out several reasons why these should not be done in this beautiful province.
In a web poll conducted by Biliranisland.com on the issue of mining operation in Biliran province, 81.05 % or 124 respondents voted NO while 18.95 % or 29 respondents voted YES as of December 9, 2008.
Web poll voting still continues at Biliranisland.com, one of the province’s private websites catering to the information needs of the Biliranon through the internet, to get the pulse of the public on the mining issue in the province.
In a meeting of the clergies in the Diocese of Naval with Sofronio B. Dacillo, Jr, , environmental management specialist of the provincial government held last week at the Bishop’s Chancery, Bishop Filomeno G. Bactol and the rest of the clergies in attendance have expressed their strong opposition to the mining operations in Biliran province.
In the official statement of Representative Glenn A. Chong posted in Biliranisland.com at 7:28 pm on December 9, 2008, the young Biliran solon recognized three major concerns in his opposition to the mining issue.
The 34-year old lawmaker pointed out that mining is not a sustainable driver of the local economy and by nature hazardous to the health of the people working or living near the mining sites aside from the high-impact ecological and environmental degradation affecting not only the immediate locality but the broader community.
“Though it may provide temporary jobs and economic upliftment in the short –term, the mined and extracted resources are either almost irreplaceable or totally irreplaceable and once the deposits dry-up and will totally be extracted, the mining operators will just stop their operations and leave”, Representative Chong said.
The first-termer solon added that the communities within which mining operations take place are the first ones to suffer and will suffer the most both individually as well as collectively
He also stressed that mining operations disturb the ecological and environmental balance that contributes to the general well-being of the communities and in the absence of specific guarantees for their restoration after extraction, communities stand to suffer irreparable damage not only in this generation but the future generations as well.
He likewise urged the Biliranon to increase pressure on Governor Rogelio J. Espina to start acting in their best interest since it is he who signed or will sign the permit and so he will be the one to revoke it.
“He must demonstrate his commitment in clear and unequivocal terms by revoking the permit already issued and holding indefinitely in abeyance the issuance of new permits”, he added. (PIA-Biliran)