Letter of Appeal to Congressman Javier

Date: Monday, October 24, 2011
Subject: Your email to the Office of Rep. Javier, Paolo S.

HREP Website Visitor: MIning in San Roque, Libertad, Antique

Dear Congressman,

As advocates for human rights and the environment, Pagtatap Philippines, Pagtatap USA, and Pandan Antique Foundation strongly oppose DENR’s approval of an ECC to extract iron ore in San Roque, Libertad. San Roque is part of the Northwestern Panay Peninsula that is a protected area under Presidential Proclamation 186, which was formulated to preserve the natural habitat of the rare birds and animals unique to Panay and to protect them from extinction.

Granting permission to mine in San Roque is a tragedy in the making. The protected area will become a wasteland ravaged by deforestation and landslides. The unique birds and animals, the most vulnerable and innocent among us, will succumb to extinction as helpless victims of man’s greed and avarice. The residents’ way of life in the surrounding areas and beyond will be disrupted, if not destroyed. Most of them are already holding on by their fingernails in their struggles to survive. Their woes will be compounded because the mine has polluted the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the soil they till, the lakes, rivers, streams, and the sea that have supported them for centuries as their important sources of food and livelihood.

Once something is destroyed, it cannot be reversed nor restored. It is as good as gone. It becomes a thing of the past. Even the richest man cannot buy back the past. Touting the mine as an economic potential cannot even begin to justify the destruction and havoc it will wreak on the ecosystem. Such claim to economic gain is reduced to nothing when compared with the loss of human lives and property and gross disrespect for a person’s dignity and worth.

The residents cannot speak up to fight for their rights. That is why we turn to you, Congressman. Please intercede for them. They voted for you because they trusted you and put their faith in you. They are relying on you now to speak for them and be their voice, to take a stand and say “NO MINES IN THE PROTECTED AREA.”

History will be kind to you and will attest to your merits as the congressman who connected with his constituents, heard their concerns, and acted on them.

Respectfully yours,
Mimi Ortega (Pandan, Antique ; member Pagtatap Foundation Inc)