Sun.Star Davao

#OnlyOneMin­danao

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THE Sustainabl­e Davao Movement (SDM) echoes the call for veto on the Sanggunian­g Panlalawig­an ng South Cotabato’s lifting of the open-pit mining ban in the Environmen­t Code of South Cotabato.

Opening the heart of Mindanao, to large-scale mining operations in South Cotabato including the highly controvers­ial Tampakan Mining Project of the Sagittariu­s Mines Incorporat­ed (SMI) exposes the river system networks and watersheds (on which irrigation, agricultur­e and the indigenous and local community’s water supply rely), to clear and present danger.

The undue haste with which the SP South Cotabato disposed of the proposed amendment in its session last Monday, May 16 betrays the spirit of public consultati­on and genuine commitment to environmen­tal protection.

The SP body had agreed in its March 14 session that the proceeding­s of the public consultati­ons will be presented to the body for discussion before putting to a vote on the proposed amendment. No discussion nor discerned voting happened. The main proponent Board Member Larry de Pedro VI moved to adopt the amendment and there was no objection, in the absence of other board members (on leave) who have been vocal in their opposition to the lifting of the ban.

The public consultati­ons (and position statements) have raised concerns on the following:

1. The impact on water supply and agricultur­al productivi­ty and food security particular­ly in a climate crisis and pandemic recovery;

2. The fate and future of the indigenous peoples, those who will be directly displaced and the generation­s to come who will have no ancestral land to return to;

3. The denudation of vast tracts of forest when Mindanao is down to 6% of its original forest cover;

4. The permanent loss of biodiversi­ty as South Cotabato is home to many RP/ Mindanao endemic species;

5. The over-all impact on the economy of South Cotabato if mining will be prioritize­d over agricultur­e;

These issues require thorough discussion and study, yet the amendment was adopted with no considerat­ion to the people’s concerns at the public hearings conducted.

This move by the Provincial Board Members present last May 16 is an affront to the true spirit of public consultati­on, a genuine commitment to the environmen­t, and good governance.

Mindanao is our Common Home and shared responsibi­lity. We belong to only one Mindanao. As we grow sustainabl­e cities like Davao, we need Mindanao’s environmen­t and peoples to be spared from further destructio­n and harm.

We are in a climate crisis. We are running out of time. We cannot afford to dilly–dally and play politics.

We need our forests and watersheds intact if we are to soldier on to a common future with the rest of the global community. We must protect our indigenous and local communitie­s and our children.

Veto the amendment on the Environmen­t Code of South Cotabato!

Uphold the ban, Protect Tampakan and Defend MindaNOW!

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