Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Green groups remember death of Romblon environmentalist

Press ReleaseOctober 4, 2011
Green groups remember death of Romblon environmentalist

Sibuyan Island, Romblon – Environmental groups and residents of biodiversity-rich Sibuyan Island commemorate the death of anti-mining activist Armin Rios Marin during a tribute and mass for environmental justice at Brgy. Espana, San Fernando, yesterday.

Marin was murdered on October 3, 2007, by a security officer of nickel mining company Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corporation (SNPDC), while leading a protest against a survey and the approval of special permits to cut more than 70,000 trees.

Marin was trustee of Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE), former local councilor and staff of World Wildlife Fund (WWF); and lay leader of a local parish church.

“We are still standing united against the exploitation of our island; before Armin died he showed us how to stand firm to protect the future our children’s children. Justice for him is the revocation of Altai’s MPSA license,” said Domingo Marin, father of the murdered councilor.

“Mining in island ecosystems like Sibuyan and neighboring Tablas in Romblon is not sustainable as it endangers the livelihood and lives of communities, our voices should be heard – Romblon says NO,” said Msgr. Ernie Fetalino, chairman of Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM).

“Armin Rios Marin’s death is not isolated; this is the consequence of the insistence of large scale mining companies and the previous administration to exploit even the lives of communities – President Benigno Aquino III should consider the revocation of Altai’s mining permit,” lamented Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.

“Mining affected communities will always stand up for their rights because the issue at hand goes beyond economics, for them it is food security, disaster resiliency, intergenerational responsibility and carrying capacity of nature,” Garganera added.

SNPDC is the local partner of Australia-based Pelican Resources Ltd. and implementer of a Mineral Productions Sharing Agreement (MPSA) permit held by Altai Philippines Mining Corporation (APMC) for an estimated area of 1,500 hectares. APMC is a subsidiary of Canada-based Altai Resources Inc.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau recently issued a Cease and Desist Order to Altai due to complaints from the local government units and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Local government units, environmental groups, the religious, students and teachers, farmers and fisher folks joined the celebration.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy&Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61

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