By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Sangguniang Bayan of the municipality of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur in a regular session passed a resolution requesting the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to deny any new mining applications in their area.
According to Cervantes Vice Mayor Robert M. Harnois, the resolution came out as a result of the heavy damage on the environment and agricultural land in their jusrisdiction, and in neighboring areas because of the decades long of mining operations of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) that polluted the Abra River.
He said the resolution came with the petition of residents of seven barangays of Cervantes against any mining exploration as they saw the grim effects from the operations of LCMC on the environment.
At present, Harnois said, Gold Fields mining company has already shown their intention to enter the area. He added that the mining company representative already came to one of their regular sessions to explain their proposals and plans.
Harnois reiterated that they will not allow mining operations in their area.
The town’s Resolution #251, stated that the biggest river within their jurisdicton is the Abra River but its water could not be used for irrigation as it was found to be too acidic and contains toxic chemicals destroying not only aquatic resources but also animals drinking from polluted water and it retards the growth of rice plants.
The resolution added that the death of the Abra River is attributed to the mining operations of LCMC. The resolution added that further mining activities within the municipality would imperil the pristine and available water resources and tributaries where the aquatic life, animals and rice paddies may survive.
Harnois said they will furnish copies of the resolution to the DENR and MGB and other concerned agencies of the government. “Hopefully, they will heed our calls that we only want to protect what is left to us for our children,” he added.
Harnois said further that while it is true that there are people from Cervantes who were employed by LCMC, it is not enough to compensate the damage against the environment and the future of their children. He also said that LCMC workers after working for many years in the company remained poor.
“Nagadu met a diay pangay-ayo da kadagiti umili, idiay Cervantes ket adda dagiti skolars da ken agit-ited da ti percentage kano ngem saan met nga umanay diay nu mapukaw ti ili mi,” (The company give the people many favors. They have scholars in Cervantes and they also gave a percentage of their taxes but those are not enough if our community will vanish) said Harnois.
The Vice mayor said that their constituents just like the other people in nearby affected communities have all the right to demand for compensation from LCMC because of the destruction brought on their livelihood and their lives. # nordis.net