The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) on Tuesday urged the Duterte administration to enforce the quarantine rules on mining companies, alleging that some mining firms committed quarantine violations in Luzon.
According to the PMPI, the DENR must rethink its framework of environmental protection that is more sustainable as it cited studies that revealed that most of the diseases induced by virus come from animals and the wild, and that the phenomenon of deforestation is largely due to mining and agribusiness companies.
A network of 250 nongovernment, peoples’ organizations, and social action centers across the Philippines, PMPI said a couple of Chinese vessels arrived at the country’s shores to load coal from mining communities allegedly with the approval of the Department of Energy (DOE).
Last week, PMPI protested the mine-loading operation of a Chinese mining company, Techiron Resources Inc. on Homonhon Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, despite the prevailing general quarantine in the entire province.
According to PMPI, the Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique, another island community is again at risk of the spread of coronavirus 2019 as another Chinese vessel, this time by the Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC), docked to load coal from the island.
The hauling took place amid the issuance of the Antique Provincial Executive Order 40-A barring the use of its port for the transport of coal except for the collection of “cement to be used by contractors for DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] projects only and medical equipment, medicines and other essential goods.”
Bong Sanchez of Save Antique Movement (SAM) said despite the DOH confirmation that there are already persons who tested positive for Covid-19 in the island, the LGU-Caluya and the Provincial Government of Antique failed to stop the entry of these vessels to service SMPC in the name of “energy security.”
This despite the standing issuances of the Municipality of Caluya, as well as the Province of Antique on social distancing and transport of essential goods in the island.
“These actions are clear subversion of the local government’s will and violation of the peoples’ right to health,” Sanchez added.