For the people of Davao del Sur, April 22 becomes utterly significant as the province is hounded by imminent environmental disasters. Foremost among the many issues here is the SMI-Xstrata Mining in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur and the Aboitiz-led HEDCOR hydropower project in Tudaya in the borders of Sta. Cruz Municipality and Digos City.
Though distant and seemingly out of our concern, the mining operations of SMI-Xstrata in Kiblawan will not only affect the people of that municipality but also the people of Davao del Sur and the areas surrounding Davao Gulf as well. One of the river systems found in the direct-impact-area is Mal River in Kiblawan which empties into the Davao Gulf. Nearby is the Malalag Bay, a source of livelihood for the fisherfolks along the coastline of Davao del Sur.
As SMI-XSTRATA decides to employ open-pit mining in its extraction phase, we think of the many effects of this method. Gone will be the flora and fauna of the area, and Bulol Lumot, the last canopy forest in South Central Mindanao will fall victim to the corporate interests of SMI-Xstrata. The mine tailings dam which according to reliable sources will be built by the mining company in Digos City will be a virtual “sword of Damocles”, a disaster in waiting. Dams like this contain highly toxic chemicals and will kill rivers and river systems when they overflow. We need not see for our own eyes the destruction this will bring. Remember Marcopper in Marinduque and Rapu-rapu in Albay and you will remember the threat of an impending disaster these environmental threats pose to everyone in Davao del Sur.
The Hedcor project in Tudaya will reduce to a mere memory the magnificent Tudaya Falls, a tourism destination in Davao del Sur and a sacred ground to the Bagobo – Tagabawa tribe in the Mount Apo area. The nearly extinct Philippine monkey-eating eagle will once more face another threat as Hedcor erodes its habitat with its hydropower project.
While climate change is a major issue on a global scale, the SMI-XSTRATA and HEDCOR operations is the principal environmental issue in Davao del Sur.
This Earth Day, we say, Stop SMI-XSTRATA Mining operations in Davao del Sur! Stop HEDCOR operations in Tudaya! No to Large Scale Mining! Scrap Philippine Mining Act of 1995!
Citizens Alliance Unified for Sectoral Empowerment (CAUSE-DS)
Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Davao Del Sur (NAMADDS)
Nagkahiusang Mangingisda Alang sa Kalamboan (NAMANGKA)
Panalipdan Youth – Davao Del Sur