The resolution was passed unanimously and attested to by both the vice mayor, Datu Apan M. Piang, the presiding chair of the council, and Mayor Datu Esmael Mangudadatu, on September 21.
It noted that Tampakan is “only a few kilometers away” from the 6,300 hectare- Lake Buluan, the main source of livelihood of the people here.
“Looking into the possible ill-effect of the mining industry, as what had happened in some other part of the country, the fact that this will produce mercury, cyanide, arsenic and other poisonous toxic elements that will pour from the mining site, down to Lake Buluan up to Liguasan Marsh through Buluan river” was cited as reason for the opposition.
The Sangguniang Bayan resolved to “strongly oppose the continuous operation of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in South Cotabato area in order to protect the lives of the people of Buluan, Maguindanao and their source of livelihood, including the people in the nearby places.”
A copy of the resolution was also furnished President Arroyo “for her Excellency’s information and immediate action,” and the Secretary of Environment. “for his information and comments.”
SMI Tampakan project manager Rolando Doria declined to comment as yet because “we still have to receive and read the content of the said Buluan document.”
But Doria reporters who visited the minesite last month that the concerns about water and pollution by people downstream would be looked into before full operations start. The firm has just completed its pre-feasibility phase.
SMI Corporate Affairs Manager Roy Antonio told MindaNews “we have no comment as we have not yet been officially advised of such a resolution.”
At the lakeside where bancas are docked, fishers show off their catch of a variety of fish, including huge ones.
Last year, the Department of Agriculture-Southern Philippines Communications Group promoted Lake Buluan as a major source of tilapia in Mindanao.
Aside from tilapia, the DA-SPC team also documented the lake’s other fish species such as bangus (milkfish) and larok or big head carp. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)