HomeEquality & JusticeResidents of Sibuyan island stage protest rally against mining operations

Residents of Sibuyan island stage protest rally against mining operations

Sibuyan Island has been said to be one of the most unspoiled ecosystems in the Philippines and the world

Residents of the island of Sibuyan in the province of Romblon stage a protest rally on Sunday, January 29, to show their opposition to the alleged “illegal mining operations” on the island.

“We demand swift action from the local governments of the province and municipalities, and the pertinent government agencies such … to stop the mining operations,” said Elizabeth Ibañez, coordinator of the group Sibuyanons Against Mining.

Ibañez alleged that a mining firm, Altai Mining Company, has been operating in Sitio Bato España, San Fernando town, without the necessary permits and documents.

The protesters are demanding that the mining company produce a barangay clearance, a municipal business permit, a foreshore lease contract from the Environment department, and a permit from the Philippine Ports Authority to construct a private port.

“As far as we know, Altai Mining Company does not have these documents. What they are doing therefore is illegal,” said Ibañez.

The protesters also called on the national government to immediately stop the mining firm’s operations because it is “destructive to the island’s ecosystem.”

Rodne Galicha, executive director of Living Laudatu Si, said the government lacks a “sense of urgency to protect one of our country’s last ecological frontiers.”

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“It is our duty to protect the island, its sensitive ecosystems and the rights of our people to a healthy and balanced ecology,” said Galicha in a statement.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, said “authorities must listen to the clamor of the people of Sibuyan.”

“The demands of the Sibuyan residents should be prioritized over the interests of the mining company,” he said in a statement.

The Sangguniang Bayan of San Fernando, Cajidiocan and Magdiwang in Romblon have issued a joint resolution in June 2022 “strongly opposing metallic large-scale mining in Sibuyan Island.”

They requested President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Philippine Congress to declare Sibuyan island free from large-scale metallic mining.

They also called on Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to immediately “review, halt, revoke and reject all mining agreements, operation, and applications within the territorial jurisdiction.”

Sibuyan Island has been said to be one of the most unspoiled ecosystems in the Philippines and the world.

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