CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/30 May) – A socio-civic organization here is demanding from city hall the list of “all mining and quarrying permits” it has issued under its jurisdiction, citing their concern over reports that vegetable farmers in the upland barangays of the city have been “adversely affected by heavy siltation” brought about by mining.
The leaders of Bangon Kagay-an – a local citizen-led organization advocating for good governance, ethical leadership and the protection and preservation of the environment – submitted their demand letter to city hall today, the group said.
Bangon Kagay-an Chairman Nixon Baban said they also submitted a similar letter to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to for copies of permits issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
“In support of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma’s call to monitor all mining activities and their effect on the environment, we the member of Bangon Kagay-an, invoking the right of the people to information on matters of public concern as enshrined in Section 7 of the Bills of Rights of the 1987 Constitution, would like to secure copies of all the mining and quarrying permits issued by the City Government of Cagayan de Oro to all mining companies and individuals under its jurisdiction,” the demand letter states, a copy of which was emailed to the media on Tuesday.
Bangon Kagay-an started out as a virtual forum group on Facebook after Typhoon Sendong ravaged the city and neighboring Iligan City December last year. The group currently has 18,372 members.
“We are disturbed by reports that some 400 farmers engaged in vegetable farming along Iponan River are adversely affected by heavy siltation because of the unabated mining activities in the outlying barangays,” Bangon Kagay-an stated in its demand letter.
The group referred to a May 27 MindaNews report by Cagayan de Oro-based journalist Froilan Gallardo of the plight of vegetable farmers in barangay Baikingon, this city.
Gallardo quoted Roldan Maglungsod, president of Baikingon Farmers Association, as saying that the “heavy siltation has affected 400 farmers engaged in vegetable farming along Iponan River.” Maglungsod was also quoted as saying that the heavy siltation in their area has “rendered two irrigation canals along the river useless.”
“We used to be able to project our investments but now we can no longer do that. The river gets flooded every year, making our investments useless,” Maglungsod said as quoted in the same news article.
“We believe that the heavy siltation of this river has caused the diminution of farm productivity which may pose a threat on our food security and threaten the farmers’ legitimate means for decent living,” Bangon Kagay-an’s demand letter continues. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)