“As long as I am the mayor, no mining will ever be approved in this municipality,” said Cantilan Mayor Tomasa Guardo told protesters.
The Sangguniang Bayan of Cantilan led by Cantilan Vice Mayor Rosa Carreos had earlier approved an ordinance opposing the entry of the Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) and Carac-and Development Corporation (CDC).
Surigao del Sur Bishop Nereo Odchimar expressed disappointment over the issuance of the Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) to MMDC and CDC by Environment Secretary Jose Atienza Jr on December 22 last year.
“I felt betrayed upon learning that the Department Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had already issued Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) to Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) and Carac-an Development Corporation (CDC) two months prior to having been assured in a dialogue with Sec. Lito Atienza that he would look deeply into the watershed proclamation vis a vis mining,” he said.
The Bishop of Tandag diocese, who joined the march with the placard-bearing protesters, had earlier expressed opposition to the operation of the mining firms in Cantilan, Madrid and Carrascal.
Emma Hotchkiss, president of the CarCanMadCarLan Baywatch Foundation, said the operation of these mining companies threatens the watersheds critical to the support of the province’s irrigation system, water supply and Cantilan’s proposed mini-hydro power project.
“We shall take a unified action and urge the government to cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) of MMDC and CDC,” Hotchkiss said in press statement.
The MMDC and CDC, both owned by Butuan-based businessman Mario Vijungco, are eyeing to operate within the Manobo ancestral land in Cantilan, Madrid and Carrascal. Marc Venture Mining has an MPSA over 4,799 hectares in Barangay Cabangahan, for nickel and gold.(Alden Pantaleon, Jr. / MindaNews)