Review Antique islands’ mining status, DENR asked
In a resolution passed by the board on Oct. 10, the board requested the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to look at Caluya and Sibay islands in Caluya town because the declaration covering these areas had prevented residents from undertaking ecotourism development.
“The mineral reserve status of the islands of Sibay and Caluya hampers the people to plan the utilization of their lots for long-term development because of the threat that [these] will be utilized for mining,” according to the resolution authored by Board Member Karmila Rose Dimamay.
The islands’ status also discourages their promotion as a tourist destination, according to the resolution.
Dimamay said many potential investors were hesitant because lots could not be titled and might be affected by mining activities.
“We hope that a review can be conducted and the areas covered by the reservation will be reverted so that the people will be able to fully utilize [these] for tourism and livelihood activities,” she told the Inquirer.
Under Proclamation No. 649 issued in 1940 by then President Manuel Quezon, the islands of Mindoro as well as Semirara, Sibay and Caluya in Antique were declared as coal mining reservations.
The proclamation covered about 38,100 hectares in Mindoro and 12,100 ha in Antique.
Under the implementing rules and regulations of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7942), the DENR secretary “shall cause the periodic review of existing mineral reservations by detailed geological, mineral and ecological evaluation for the purpose of determining whether or not their continued existence is consistent with the national interest …”
The secretary can recommend to the President the alteration or modification of boundaries of the reserve or revert the areas to public domain.
Semirara, Caluya and Sibay are among the nine islands comprising the town of Caluya.
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