OPEN LETTER OF APPEAL TO SENATOR FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO

OPEN LETTER OF APPEAL TO
SENATOR FRANCIS JOSEPH “CHIZ” G. ESCUDERO
OF THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES
ON THE PLANNED MINING OPERATIONS IN
NORTHWEST PANAY PENINSULA NATURAL PARK

October 25, 2011

HON. FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO
Chairman
Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources
Senate of the Philippines
GSIS Building, Financial Center
Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Philippines

Dear Senator Escudero,

I am one of those concerned citizens protesting against the planned mining operations in Northwest Panay Peninsula, a declared natural park and protected area under the Presidential Proclamation No. 186.

I am forwarding to you my open letter, dated October 03, 2011, addressed to Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources concerning mining in Northwest Panay Peninsula.

We are concerned because Northwest Panay Peninsula is a protected area and has a high rate of endangered species both flora and fauna including critically endangered birds and mammals. It is considered as one of the remaining significant stretch of low-elevation rain forest within the West Visayas Biogeographic Region in the Philippines.

With the presence of highly endangered endemic species, Northwest Panay Peninsula Natural Park has been identified as one of the key biodiversity areas and priority sites for conservation in the Philippines.

The mining companies may claim that the mining sites are not within the natural park but knowing the unacceptable environmental impacts of mining like deforestation, alteration of terrain, stripping of vegetation, mine waste and tailings causing water pollution, soil erosion causing floods and landslides, Northwest Panay Peninsula and its declared natural park will definitely be adversely devastated.

Regardless of the location of the mining sites, whether they are within or just adjacent to the natural park, the residents of Pandan and Libertad especially the people of the barangay concerned and nearby barangays will definitely be disastrously affected as these barangays are situated on the foot of the mountain ranges of Northwest Panay Peninsula.

Pandan and Libertad are primarily fishing and farming communities. Pandan is an exporting municipality of quality fishes like yellow-finned tuna, talakitok, tangigue and blue marlins. Pandan and Libertad are producers of copra especially the barangay of San Roque.

In February 2010, the Philippine Information Agency reported that the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program under the Upland Development Program distributed some checks to 70 upland farmers of Sitio San Juan, San Roque, Libertad covering 70 hectares of reforestation project.

What is the use of this reforestation project in Sitio San Juan in Barangay San Roque when these mining companies are going to be allowed to extract metallic ore in this area and nearby areas?

DENR said that, “CLEEP intervention in upland communities did not only create additional employment and income to farmers but also improve productivity of soil, enhance water conservation that will eventually boost food security and help mitigate the looming effects of climate change and global warming.”

Further, it reported that the mountain areas of the town of Libertad were designated as watershed areas of major irrigation, power and water systems and headwater of major river system/basin.

Mount Pinopoan located in Sitio San Juan in Barangay San Roque has the highest elevation in Libertad with 618 meters elevation above sea level. The proposed mining sites are located on the foot of Mount Pinopoan, which is part of the mountain ranges of the Northwest Panay Peninsula Natural Park.

Libertad boasts of several potential natural ecotourism attractions near the mining sites such as Kenyang/Kinyang Falls in Cubay, Giub Beach in San Roque, Bongan-Bongan Spring in Maramig, and San Roque River. Libertad have marine sanctuaries and coral reefs in barangays San Roque, Pajo, and Bulanao.

The coastal areas of the nearby barangays such as Patria, Duyong, Tingib, Mag-aba, and Zaldivar are classified as tourism zones in Pandan.

Northwest Panay Peninsula with its agricultural contributions and ecotourism potentials should be excluded and protected from any form of destructive business operations especially like mining.

We are hoping for your help and support for the protection of our lives and preservation of our environment.

Thank you very much!

SAVE NORTHWEST PANAY PENINSULA NATURAL PARK! NO TO MINES IN KEY BIODIVERSITY AND PROTECTED AREAS!

Respectfully yours,

(SGD.) Sofie Hofmann
Member, Pagtatap Foundation, Inc.

Save Northwest Panay Peninsula
http://www.savenwpp.com

Attached documents:

OPEN LETTER OF APPEAL TO SENATOR FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO ON THE PLANNED MINING OPERATIONS IN NORTHWEST PANAY PENINSULA NATURAL PARK.pdf
OPEN LETTER TO SECRETARY RAMON JESUS P. PAJE ON THE PLANNED MINING OPERATIONS IN NORTHWEST PANAY PENINSULA NATURAL PARK.pdf
Priority Sites for Conservation in the Philippines – Key Biodiversity Areas – addendum c_kba process.pdf
Northwest-Panay-Peninsula-Faunal-Species-table-fauna-pandan-antique.pdf
Northwest-Panay-Peninsula-Floral-Species-table-flora-pandan-antique.pdf
Looking into Native Species-based Forest Restoration – The Antique Experience – Samilliano.pdf
P.7 million released to Antique upland farmers.pdf

Recommended links:

GMA7 Reporter’s Notebook: Pilipinas for Sale?, Mining in Surigao del Norte

Marcopper Mining Disaster in Marinduque due to Mine Tailings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcopper_mining_disaster

Mining in Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay, Bicol & Revisiting Marinduque Mining Disaster
http://saverapurapu.blogspot.com/2008/07/revisiting-marinduque-mining-disaster.html

Priority Sites for Conservation in the Philippines – Key Biodiversity Areas
http://www.cbd.int/database/attachment/?id=778

Looking into Native Species-based Forest Restoration – The Antique Experience – Samilliano
http://www.rainforestation.ph/news/pdfs/Samilliano.pdf

P.7 million released to Antique upland farmers
http://pia.gov.ph/?m=12&sec=reader&rp=6&fi=p100209.htm&no=56&date=02/09/2010

Copy furnished (Blind carbon copy recipients):

President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III
Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Director Leo Van V. Juguan, Regional Director, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 6
Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr., Department of Tourism
Director Edwin G. Trompeta, Regional Director, Western Visayas Regional Tourism Center
Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Director, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau
Senator Loren B. Legarda
Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
Senator Ralph G. Recto
Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III
Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.
Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, CBCP Online, Chairman, Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (CSAJP)
Prof. Dr. Eberhard Curio, Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project (PESCP)
Dr. Enrique Sanchez Jr., President, PhilinCon
Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes, Executive Director, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity
Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines
Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI)
Haribon Foundation
Haribon Foundation Sagip GUBAT
Asean Center for Biodiversity
Mines and Communities
BirdLife International
Fauna and Flora International
FERN
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Rainforest Alliance
Sibuyan ISLE
Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas (KKP), World Wide Fund Philippines
Greenpeace Philippines
Foundation for Philippine Environment
ELAC – Environmental Legal Assistance Center
Melvin Purzuelo, Green Forum Western Visayas
Ana Ver-Papa, Bangon Kalikasan
Anna Oposa, Director, The Law of Nature Foundation
Imelda V. Abaño, Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists, Inc.
Vicente Edgardo C. Bartilad, Editor-in-Chief, Manila Bulletin
Letter to the Editor, Sunstar.com.ph
Inquirer.net
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philstar.com
Philippine Star
The News Today Online
VERA Files
GMA News Online
ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan
Manila Standard Today