Skip to main content

Keeping our Forests Better than Mining Coal

To get a better picture of how our island province of Catanduanes will fare even under conditions of the so-called responsible mining espoused by giant companies like the newcomer Altura Mining Limited, let us take a look at the present operation of Rapu-Rapu Minerals, Inc. (RRMI) and Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project (RRPP).

With its avowed commitment to responsible mining and processing towards sustainable development, both firms presented to the small Albay island’s people the following diagram:

Readers should note that the mining and processing operation is spread out over at least 100 hectares of the mountain above existing residential areas. Imagine 100 hectares of forest in Caramoran, Bagamanoc and Panganiban cleared of trees for Altura’s coal-mining project.

For all the promises of the project proponents and supporters both in the national and local governments, there is little to show that the mining project has actually benefited Rapu-Rapu residents and lifted their lives from poverty. From 2005 to 2011, the island’s mining firm reportedly produced over P43 billion, or exactly P43,360,623.47, worth of precious minerals. From this stupendous sum, RRPP and RRMI paid the national government around P798 million in taxes Under the law, local government units – Albay and Rapu-Rapu – are supposed to get a share of 75 percent or P598 million. The mining oppositors ask: where did all this money go when Rapu-Rapu remains poor as ever?

The very same question could very well be asked of Altura, assuming it begins operation without vehement objections from Catandunganons, and its local supporters five years hence.

In the case of the high-grade sub-bituminous coal from Catanduanes favored by power plants, our reserve of 1.2 million tons of coal could be worth P5 billion today at the present price of US$100 per metric ton. That would be a lot of money, not only for Altura and its partners, but also for LGU officials whose coffers could be stuffed with their P75 million share in the excise taxes for just five years. And this does not even include the potential income they can get from the precious narra and other hardwood to be felled during the mining operation.

Indeed, there is money to be had in the proposed Altura mining project, but only for the operator, its investors, certain local businessmen who would deal with the company, and the usual shady characters in government, not to mention armed men on both sides of the ideological divide.


Rapu-rapu mine site

Catanduanes is a mountainous island ecosystem listed among the 20 provinces most susceptible to landslides, and anything bad that happens to its 60,000 hectares of forest land, including the 5,000 hectares that remain of its virgin forest, will seriously affect its people, flora and fauna. A hundred hectares in the forested boundaries of Caramoran, Bagamanoc and Panganiban, shorn of trees, mined for its coal and with mine tailings possibly contaminating rivers, streams and other water sources, will not be representative of the island paradise that we Catandunganons boast of to the rest of the world.

In the country’s experience, responsible mining does not guarantee that mining firms would be responsible for anything bad that could happen. We only need to see what happened in Marinduque in 1996, when a mine tailings spill led to the death of Boac river and the poisoning of both land and sea, to know the truth.

Seventy-five million pesos over five years cannot pay for the destruction of even a hundred hectares of life-sustaining forest, even if the people makes sure the money will not be stolen by thieves in government.

Source: Editorial, Catanduanes Tribune

Popular posts from this blog

2008 Civil Service Examination Passers - Examination Passers

Civil Service Examination - Subprofessional
CSC RO V - Rawis, Legazpi City
Date: November 16, 2008 Seq # Examinee No. Examinee Name 1 582872ABALON, MARIAN DOROTHY O 2 586574ABRAGAN, MICHAEL FRANCIS F 3 586733ACAL, KAREN KAYE I 4 586575ACERON, MILANDRO B 5 582785ADOPTANTE, ANGELO LESTER N 6 582766AGUILAR, JEROSS R 7 582952AGUILAR, RORY S 8 586835ALPARAN, OLIVE A 9 586847ALVAREZ, MICHAELSON Y 10 582594ALVAREZ, SEYCHELLE M 11 582572ANGELES, MIRALYN A 12 582669ARCILLA, ARMIE A 13 582904ARCOS, EDEN R 14 582790ATIGA, RIENA M 15 586625AUREUS, EDGAR MANUEL A 16 582761AVENIDO, PRECIOUS B 17 582942AZORES, MYLA E 18 586762BAESA, MARC EDWIN S 19 582559BAEZA, ROWEL G 20 582682BAGHERI, CHERRYMAE C 21 586783BALINGBING, MAY ANN A 22 586661BARBONIO, EUGENE P 23 582812BARRAMEDA, LESLIE H 24 586558

Arcilla, Political Law Bar Examiner - CT

A Viracnon has done it again. For four Sundays of September, law graduates undergo the most important rite of passage in the legal profession: the BAR examinations. The Bar is a rigorous test of eight subjects, each testing the graduates’ knowledge, reasoning and writing abilities. One of the examiners in the 2008 Bar Exam is Atty. Juanito Gianan Arcilla of Marcelo Alberto, Virac. Atty. Arcilla prepared the Bar questions on Political and International Law. The said exam consisted of the following subjects and its corresponding weighted average: Political and International Law (15%), Labor and Social Legislation (10%), Civil Law (15%), Taxation (15%), Mercantile Law (15%), Criminal Law (10%), Remedial Law (20%), and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises (5%) for a total of 100%. Examiners are deemed experts in their respective fields, and are chosen on the basis on their contributions to legal education. Other examiners of the 2008 Bar were Atty. Salvador Poquiz (Labor and Social Le…

Catanduanes Needs P2.5B to Build Concrete Road - BM

VIRAC, Catanduanes—A long-standing joke here is that if the government had indeed used funds to build roads from pre-martial law days, this island province could have sunk below sea level by now. But the joke is apparently becoming true as the province’s 11 towns are now enjoying concrete roads as funds for the road network continue to pour. Gov. Joseph Cua said road concreting of the province’s 317-kilometer-long circumferential road is almost 45-percent complete and that the second phase of the program under a soft-loan contract with the Japanese International Cooperating Agency (Jica) may be realized by next year. The province’s nonconcreted highway roads, however, have been regravelled and are passable. Cua said the province is hoping the concreting of the national highways would be attended by the national government, saying that in times of disasters such as typhoons, supplies of aids in affected areas are done by boat. This, however, can only be done in good weather. Cata…

10 CSU Graduates Top Bicol Placers in Teachers Exams

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) -- The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced here Wednesday that 10 graduates of the Catanduanes State University (CSU) landed at the top 10 among those who passed the recent Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in Bicol. The PRC identified the top 10 passers as Carlito T. Gelito, Joan S. Guerrero, Jinky Lou T. Sarmiento, Ronald A. Teves, Ian Lopez, Eddie Cadag, Donna Nerisse Sapico, Aizel Cerillo, Melvin Fernandez and Daniel L. Alfaro. Gelito placed 3rd in the regional and 10th in the national levels; Guerrero, 4th with 85.80 percent; Sarmiento, 4th with 85.80 percent; Teves, 4th placer with 85.80 percent; Lopez, 5th with 85.60 percent; Cadag, 6th with 85.40 percent; Sapico, 6th with 85.40 percent; Cerillo, 7th with 85.20 percent; Fernandez, 8th with 85 percent and; Alfaro, 9th with 84.80 percent. The PRC, through its Board for Professional Teachers, also honors top 10 placers in the regional level of the LET examinations separately fr…

Virac’s Jamela Arcilla 9th in Nursing Board

A daughter of Virac placed 9th in the Nurse Licensure Examination given by the Professional Regulation Commission’s Board of Nursing last July 2010, with 82 graduates of the Catanduanes State Colleges also passing the exam. Jamela Montoya Arcilla, a 2010 BS Nursing cum laude graduate of Far Eastern University, garnered a rating of 84.80 percent to land in the top ten list. Only 37,679 out of 91,008 (41.40%) passed the nursing board exam. A daughter of Atty. Felipe Panti Arcilla Jr. of Gogon Sirangan, Virac, and the former Isabelita Lulu Montoya of Sta. Ana, Pampanga, Jamela is a graduate of Virac Central Elementary School (2002) and Catanduanes National High School (2006). She was also the Clinical Excellence Awardee during the pinning ceremonies of the FEU Institute of Nursing Batch 2010. Also hurdling the nursing board on his first try is Eldon Valeza Tabuzo, son of Engr. and Mrs. Elmo Tabuzo of Calatagan, Virac. A product of the Catanduanes State Colleges Elementary Laboratory …