By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — A resolution requesting Philex Mining Corporation, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMCo) and SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet to include in their respective programs the protection and preservation of old growth trees was adopted by the Provincial Board during their session on September 20.
Board member Rogelio Leon said these three companies were chosen because of their programs under their corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Hence, he said they are requesting the above mentioned companies to incorporate the protection of these trees that have been standing for a long time in their respective CSR programs.
Leon added that the mining companies are aware of the negative effect of their operations on the environment and they have programs to protect the forest incorporated in their CSR programs but not the protection of the old-growth trees.
The resolution, said the loss of old growth trees has devastating results which includes the destruction of natural habitats, endangered species, increased risk of forest fires, loss of tourism’s economy, reduced clean oxygen supply, mudslides and loss of bio-diversity among others.
Thus, Leon said there is a need to protect and preserve these trees in order to mitigate the above mentioned devastating results.
Meanwhile, Abigail Anongos, the secretary general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said that the resolution should not only be limited in the protection of old growth trees but it should also include the rehabilitation of the mined-out areas thus, Benguet Corporation should even be included. “We appreciate this step by our provincial board members but we are also hoping that in their succeeding resolutions, they will also include more comprehensively the rehabilitation of mined-out areas not only because of environmental reasons but more because of its impact on local agriculture and the local livelihood sources,” she said.
Anongos added that given all the disasters that LCMCo caused in its more than 70 years of operation, it is only right that they are included in the resolution. She added that the LCMCo should be obliged to rehabilitate its mined-out areas.
Anongos recalled the issue of sinking in Colalo, Mankayan. “Nakabinbin pa nga iyong isyu ng sinking eh. It has not been resolved so, sana our Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) should also look into the issue of sinking because given the situation underground, you can expect the area to continue to sink specially during rainy season until there will be no land left for the settlement of the community who are there,” she said. # nordis.net