Public hearing on mining ban in Capiz

Darlene Surriga, union president of the Capiz Environmental Protection Alliance (CEPA), shares her sentiments on the proposed 50-year large-scale mining moratorium ordinance during a public hearing on Aug 23, 2019. (Capiz PENRO)

ROXAS CITY, Capiz — A public hearing on the imposition of 50-year large-scale mining moratorium in Capiz was recently held at the provincial capitol’s Hall of Vice Governors.

Presided by Sangguniang Panlalawigan member lawyer Mateo Hachuela, chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, the activity sought to listen to the sentiments of the Capiznons on the proposed legislation.

The proposed provincial ordinance seeks to impose a 50-year moratorium on large-scale mining operations in Capiz.

Darlene Surriga, union president of the Capiz Environmental Protection Alliance (CEPA), shared her sentiments on the proposed ordinance.

“I am deeply saddened particularly the destruction of our mountains for reserved minerals. The Philippines is the 3rd in the world that has the most amount of gold, what happened? We are so rich in gold and yet we are so poor,” Surriga said.

She expressed her support to the moratorium on large-scale mining.

She also lauded the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for facilitating the conduct of a public hearing and their effort to protect the natural resources of the province by mentioning their organization in the said proposed ordinance.

Vice Governor James Magbanua shared during the hearing his views on the proposed ordinance and promised to support it.

Also present during the public hearing were SP members Esteban Jose Contreras, Jonathan Besa, Elmer Arevalo, Enrique Martin, Weldie Apolinario, Jr., Ferdinand Baguio and Querubin Pamplona.

The activity was also attended by different sectors including the national government agencies, non-governmental organizations, private sector, local government units and provincial government of Capiz.

Among the attendees were DENR-Capiz head Ruel Delos Reyes, Marlon Bonite of the DENR-Environment Management Bureau, Leslie Mijares of Mines and Geosciences Bureau, representatives of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Education, Pastors’ Association, Capiz Archdiocesan Social Action Center, CEPA, Department of Agriculture, Municipal ENROs, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office, Integrated Bar of the Philippines and cause-oriented groups such as KAMAKA, Tumandok, Pamangas, Inc.

Magbanua and the SP members shared their opinions on the proposed ordinance and vowed to push the legislative measure “even though there is a threat that they will be imprisoned”.

Governor Esteban Evan B. Contreras has likewise pledged his support to the will of the people on imposing a moratorium on large-scale mining.

The governor’s commitment was relayed by lawyer Emilyn Arboleda-Depon during the public hearing.

It can be recalled that on August 27, 1999, Ordinance No. 06, series of 1999 was passed declaring a 15-year moratorium on large-scale mining activities in the province of Capiz, and was later amended to 50 years through Ordinance No. 01, series of 2002.

The said moratorium ordinance, however, was lifted on May 11, 2016 through Ordinance No. 009, series of 2016. (Emilyn A. Depon & JCEvangelista/Capiz PENRO/PIA)