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MANILA, Philippines – Residents of 7 municipalities in Romblon filed a complaint against the offshore mining application of Asian Palladium Mineral Resources, Incorporated (APMRI) on Monday, June 27, before the regional office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Mimaropa.
In a June 3 letter addressed to MGB Regional Director Roland de Jesus, reelected Governor Eduardo Firmalo represented his province and the people of Tablas Island in objecting the application of APMRI “to conduct any mining activity in the water areas of the island.”
“No to metallic mining both on land and underwater has long been the united stand of the people of Romblon,” read the letter, which also noted that the province was successful in opposing the application of another mining firm, Ivanhoe Philippines, in 2011.
“We will explore every avenue to bar [APMRI] from the exploration of palladium, platinum, and other related mineral deposits in the municipal waters of Tablas Island.” (READ: 9 things you need to know about mining in Philippines)
Last April, APMRI filed an application for a Financial Technical Assistance Agreement that will allow the exploration of palladium, platinum, and other related mineral deposits in certain municipal waters in Tablas Island.
In opposing the mining application, Firmalo cited the following:
- Protection and preservation of the municipal waters of Tablas Island
- Romblon as an island ecosystem and its municipalities as tourism development areas must be closed to mining, according to Executive Order 79
- Since none of the local government units (LGUs) concerned have neither posted a notice of application nor issued any certificate to APMRI, and since the mining firm itself was not able to publish its notice of application in a locally-accredited newspaper, APMRI then has not complied with mandatory requirements stated in Administrative Order 2010-21 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
- Residents’ strong and overwhelming opposition to metallic mining
A special committee from the Romblon State University assisted the LGUs and communities in lodging the complaint, which was compiled by the Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) and the Alliance of Students Against Mining (ASAM).
The complaint included 81,630 signatures and resolutions from the municipal and barangay levels, as well as non-governmental organizations.
De Jesus received the complaint on Monday.
“We are mandated by law to facilitate the mining application process and we are also mandated to inform the stakeholders to know their stand and sentiments,” a statement from Romblon’s information and communications office quoted de Jesus as saying.
The complaint will be sent to the Panel of Arbitrators for resolution.
Rodne Galicha, co-chair of the economic development committee of the Mimaropa Regional Development Council, said the stance of the provincial government and of its people is “consistent with Sustainable Development Goals targets especially on sustainable communities, climate action, and life below water.”
“Tourism and agriculture are the best industries for Romblon and the region as a whole, considering our fragile island ecosystems and beautiful destinations and cultures,” Galicha, also the country manager of The Climate Reality Project, said in the statement.
He witnessed the filing of the complaint on Monday led by Tomas Faminial, a professor from Romblon State University, Joje Mesana of ASAM, and retired Philippine National Police general Orville Gabuna from the municipality of Looc. – Rappler.com