According to a research done by the IBON Foundation, regions with biggest mining activities are among the poorest in the Philippines.

I can attest to this.

I have lived and grew up in a heavily mined island and I have yet to see my fellow islanders’ quality of life improving because of the mining activities.

What have we got instead?

  1. A massive forest fire in the 1980s (remember Alamag?) that destroyed almost 80% of the island’s forest.
  2. The disappearance of the island’s unique flora and fauna. (Where are the abucays, bu-ots, magos, and kagwangs now? The lady slippers and native orchids that used to grow abundantly, where have they all gone?)
  3. The destruction of watersheds that led to the drying up of the many rivers, streams and brooks that used to dot the island. (The water supply situation there is so bad now that one barangay has to fetch water from a neighboring barangay a few kilometers away during dry spells.)
  4. Severe siltation and soil erosion.

If these things do not convince people to support TOTAL stoppage of the mining activities, then they must be utterly and totally mad. And for those few islanders who still support mining, I can only assume that they must have suicidal tendencies.

This seemingly peaceful scene belies the violence that happened a few minutes after this picture was taken.