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15/09

Gabriela and progressive groups protest treacherous lifting of mining moratorium

While the national government is resolutely trying to restrain the current mining industry's rapacious and destructive practices, the provincial board of Capiz treacherouly lifted the large-scale mining ban in the province.

Gabriela Roxas City chapter has been at the forefront of a people’s resistance against the passage of a provincial ordinance lifting the 50-year ban on large-scale mining in the province of Capiz in the Western Visayas region.

Gabriela is part of the Capiz Environmental Protection Alliance (CEPA) which is spearheading the campaign to mobilize the people of Capiz to compel the provincial board to repeal its ordinance that lifted the moratorium on large-scale mining activities in the province.

CEPA in its statement, said that the passage of the ordinance is an “act of treachery by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) to the people’s verdict against the operation of large scale mining in the province of Capiz in late 1990s.

“It was a product of almost half a decade of advocacy, lobbying and social mobilizations for the preservation and protection of the environment in Capiz. The moratorium for mining activities in a province was a people’s victory in the fight against commercial mining,”

CEPA maintains that the passage of the ordinance was highly suspicious since it was done on May 11, 2016, just two days after the national elections.

The scheming maneuver to pass the said ordinance caught the people of Capiz unguarded… it is synonymous to deception,” CEPA said.

CEPA is demanding the provincial board to revoke the ordinance for the following reasons:

  • The ordinance was passed in haste and was not studied thoroughly by the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Internal Rules of Procedure were railroaded just to pass this ordinance.
  • There was no public consultation conducted by the Committee on Environment or by the Provincial Board to seek the opinion of all stakeholders, especially the marginalized sectors which represent the majority of the population (farmers, fisher folks, Indigenous Peoples, and women are among these sectors) that will be mostly affected by the operation of large scale mining; and
  • The ordinance will endanger the environment and ecological balance in the province.

To pressure the provincial board, Gabriela and its ally-organizations in the province such as PAMALAKAYA (fisherfolk organization), KADAMAY (urban poor organization), TUMANDOK (indigenous people organization) are trooping to the session hall of the provincial board every time the board convenes for session to protest.

TWHA country office and Gabriela recently conducted training on advanced advocacy and campaign management to leaders of the various sectors involved in the campaign to help strengthen and sustain their struggle.

Recently, the alliance has found ally in Capiz’ provincial governor, Antonio del Rosario, who asserted that he will not allow any mining activity in Capiz despite the lifting of the mining moratorium. He said that his office was never informed of said ordinance.

The Roxas City council also passed a resolution protesting the lifting of the moratorium on large scale mining and exploration activities in the province.

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