Marinduque Island native reaching out for general awareness that our inhabitants have a lot to share with the outside world culturally and environmentally but we must be supported and helped regain our own battered consciousness. Alternative views & pills offered.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

'Pastores', a Marinduque Anito. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Even as the P20-million government-funded United States Geological Survey (USGS) study of the mining-related issues that confronted Marinduquenos for over three decades have, by the former’s own admission, placed interdisciplinary science “in the international hot seat” reducing the scientific study, in a nutshell, to recommendations “for further environmental monitoring and health assessment studies to more accurately understand the extent and nature of mining-related impacts on the environment and human health”, the government has already focused its target on the immediate re-opening of Marcopper’s San Antonio project in Santa Cruz, Marinduque. With that response, a now jaundice-eyed government besieged for ineptitude appears unable to see rightly anymore!

Back in 2001, the USGS already recommended developing in Marinduque island “a center of educational excellence in the southwest Pacific”, to enable the mining industry to understand, assess, predict and clean up the massive environmental impacts of mining. Such a center, as seen by the scientists, would oversee and coordinate assessment and remediation activities, provide hands-on learning and training opportunities in both technical and research fields about mining-environmental issues, knowledge and “expertise that could be transferred to places in southwest Pacific and southeast Asia with similar large-scale mining-environmental problems”.

Such a center would, according to the scientists, provide education and employment opportunities on the island, attract a large number of students, teachers and visitors. It would, eventually, in support of the island-people’s persistent dream, open up a bigger opportunity to turn Marinduque into an eco-cultural tourism ground, and no more mining - the carrying-capacity of the island, considered the hottest among the bio-diversity hotspots in the country having been exceeded beyond its limits that hosting further mining is unthinkable.

Yet, the corruptive, morally-damaging and corrosive effects that national and local political machinations have done and want to forever institutionalize in this small island, in plain and simple language, for money and the craving for political self-preservation, are ever at work.

In deliberately misguided reading of the USGS study and disregard for the pleadings of the poor Marinduque people (the seventh most economically-deprived in the country), DENR has already issued, quite unilaterally, a provisional environmental clearance certificate (ECC) to Marcopper Mining Corp. This will purportedly enable the company to begin the remediation process.

The move ignores the fact that Placer Dome’s much-vaunted US12-million in escrow for rehabilitation purposes (that now appears nowhere to be found even according to the DENR!), was stated merely in press issues years before the completion of the USGS study and therefore, unfounded and unrealistic, earlier estimates for a thorough clean up having been placed by experts at no less than U$ 100-million. It ignores the fact that Marcopper has consistently pushed for remedial solutions, principally, sandbagging the Boac river tailings and hauling them back into the pit (and ignoring the remediation of structural flaws in the identified four mine tailing dams that now threatens to wreak more havoc on lives and property!). The Marcopper solution had been rejected by the local populace. Issuance of this ECC therefore, effectively assumes that the Marinduque people are non-existent or if they existed at all, they had nothing to say.

Remediation, DENR says, is expected to be completed in one-and-a-half years. Rape of the environment of this magnitude, the consequence of three decades of cultural and political manipulations could not possibly be remediated and undone in a couple of years or decades. It goes against the USGS studies that took over 18 months to finish. It goes against common sense.

In fact, the inclusion of the San Antonio Project in Marinduque among the 23 priority mining projects of the government before a thorough clean up of the toxic tailings that had been accidentally released into major water tributaries in Marinduque, before the USGS study could even be completed, uncovers how seemingly insensitive and callous to popular sentiment, locally, nationally and even globally, the government of the Philippines has become. All the political sympathies and expressions of grave concern for the health of the island community so repeatedly conveyed through the manipulative local media completely thrown into the toxic mine pit now.

The government has no time for introspection and discernment. Only perhaps the brave and noble island people of Marinduque have some time to engage in all that. but only perhaps, perhaps... perhaps!
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