Protesters demand closure of Zambales nickel mine for ‘polluting sea, rivers, farms’
MANILA — Some 50 members of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) protested at the DM Consunji Inc. office in Makati City on Thursday morning and demanded the closure of the company’s nickel mine in Zambales.
Carrying a poster of DMCI Chair David Consunji, the protesters hammered the image to express their “anger and disgust” at the “violations” they claimed the company committed.
The protest action, which coincided with the 21st anniversary of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, highlighted the so-called “irresponsible” mining operations of the company especially in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.
Sta. Cruz resident Allan de los Santos, who joined the protest on Thursday, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, that their means of livelihood in the area have been affected by large-scale nickel mining in their place.
“Fishermen cannot anymore find fish near the bay and farmers cannot utilize their lands because of the nickel deposits on the soil,” De los Santos added.
He claimed that when Typhoon Lando hit their locality last October, the farmlands were also buried due to the flashfloods, which were aggravated by mining activities in the area.
“Mine wastes and chemicals have polluted the rivers and sea in Sta. Cruz. Our children and elders are suffering from hunger and diseases,” he noted.
De los Santos claimed that residents in Sta. Cruz have barricaded the road from the mining site going to the port to prevent the company from making deliveries.
“We started this last January 19. However, the police harassed us and impeded us with legal cases. The government should be protecting us, not these pollutive mining companies,” he added.
The Sta. Cruz resident said they would not stop until the closure of the mining operations in their locality.
Kalikasan PNE national coordinator Clemente Bautista said the government should take action and suspend the mining operations of the company not only in Zambales but also in Palawan and Antique.
“DMCI operates several mining, power, and logging operations across the country, most having long records of forest denudation, water pollution, community displacement and human rights violations,” he added.
The environmental group also challenged the government to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and pass the People’s Mining Bill in Congress. SFM
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