Washington State 98366
October 4, 2011
The Honorable Jonathan Tan
Mayor of Pandan, Antique, Philippines
Sangguniang Bayan of Pandan
Dear Mayor Tan and Sangguniang Bayan Members:
It has come to my attention that the MINING venture is brewing in the municipalities of Pandan and Libertad. The news disturbs me because Pandan and the neighboring communities are once again facing the threat of human and environmental destruction. It’s like seeing the storm clouds gathering in the horizon.
It was only a decade ago when Pagtatap USA, Pagtatap Philippines and Pandan Antique Foundation joined forces to successfully thwart Metro Manila’s proposal to make SEMIRARA as the dumpsite for its daily tons of garbage. The dust of our victorious opposition had not quite settled yet when another project snarled its fangs of destruction right at Pandan’s doorstep—NAPOCOR’s proposed diesel plant in Patria.
Back then, Dr. Bobby Alojipan was at his prime and in his element. He was our indomitable stronghold in the Philippines who carried our opposition banners to the front lines and successfully led our fights against Metro Manila and NAPOCOR. If his health and mental faculties were still intact today, he would have already raised his battle ax and declared war against the MINING perpetrators and supporters.
If you are leaning towards the approval of this mining operation, please recall our reasons for opposing NAPOCOR’s proposed diesel plant in Patria where the people rallied and marched to the refrain, “Say No to NAPOCOR,” “Save Lives and Our Environment.” Patria is part of the Northern Panay Peninsula that the government mandated as a protected area. The mine’s location is in close proximity to that protected area. It will be a huge miscarriage of your position and power as municipal officials if you blatantly ignore the negative impacts of the mining operation that will diminish the residents’ quality of life.
Mayor Tan, my sources told me that you didn’t grow up in Pandan, but your mother did. In fact, I was told that she was one of my students in PBI. You came to Pandan and decided that you could improve the town and help make it better. So you ran for mayor. Your victory was a tremendous feat because despite being a “newcomer” in town you were able to beat the odds and you won. The Pandananons believed in you, trusted you, and relied on your promise to make things better for them. Please do not betray the Pandananons’ trust and hope in you. Don’t let them be made sacrificial lambs to enrich the coffers of a few. Be their voice of justice and righteousness. Extricate them from their helplessness and despair so they can live with dignity and worth. You came to Pandan to build, not destroy. You owe it to them to give credence to your words and promises.
Charles Schulz, the creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip, philosophized that “the people who make a difference in your lives are NOT the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.” People who truly care are GIVERS, not takers. They place the well-being of human lives ahead of materialism. They do not seek the value of things for what they are worth but for what they represent.
As a “Balikbayan,” I am part of the herd nga nagabalik sa banwang kinatawhan to reconnect with our roots and humble beginnings. Regardless of what we have become and achieved in pursuit of our dreams in distant shores, we haven’t forgotten our hometown and some of us have opted to either retire or build a second home there. I am a Pandananon. With the MINING threat looming in the backgound, I got to thinking, “Will I still be able to look at Pandan as a place to come home to for old time’s sake? Or will my fond memories of Pandan become just that…a memory, no longer a reality because my beloved hometown had been recklessly and continuously exploited that it had lost its identity, beauty and allure.
Our kasimanwas have placed their trust in all of you as guardians of their lives, property, and environment. By opposing the mining project, you are showing your respect for their way of life. You are honoring their deep roots with the soil, air and water, and you feel a deep reverence to protect their life and property not just for themselves but for the future generations. You are also acknowledging that the non-human realms of plants, animals and natural resources need to have their dignity and rights protected as well as humans.
I hope and pray that you will say “NO TO MINING.” Thank you for choosing the path of a public servant so you can devote your time, talents, and capabilities for the common good and general welfare of our kasimanwas. God bless you all.
Thelma Mantac Ramos
Graduate of PBI Class 1957
PBI English Teacher, 1962–1965
Parents: Hilario Naviamos Mantac & Maria Tan Mantac