Green groups to hold Caraga-wide caravan

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/22 April) – Hundreds of  environmental advocates and green groups in the region will hold a region-wide caravan “Lakbayan para sa Kinaiyahan” on Monday, to celebrate Earth Day 2012.

Led by Caraga Watch, a multi-sectoral group of environment advocates, the caravan will call for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 which is seen as the cause of the unimpeded entry of large-scale mining operations in the region.

Earth Day, April 22, fell on a Sunday.

Dr. Naty Castro, convenor of Caraga Watch said this year’s commemoration of Earth Day is a glaring remembrance of the world’s tragic condition in the face of global environmental destruction wrought by the greedy interests of businessmen and politicians.

“What is more tragic is that our country is now receiving the worst kind of rape of our national resources with the unimpeded entry of large-scale mining companies in the country,” Castro said.

She said massive military operations are undertaken in the hinterlands of Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur in the guise of anti-insurgency campaign but the facts are otherwise showing a different scenario.

Castro, who is also the regional coordinator of the human rights group Karapatan, shared information that the recent exodus of Mamanwa evacuees in Butuan City, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte and Gigaguit in Surigao del Norte are strong indications of the underlying reason for the conduct of military operation.

“Our region is already under attack of the massive destruction of our rich mountains and natural resources, we will be suffering far worse environmental catastrophes if we will not do something about this today,” she said.

Monday’s Lakbayan Para sa Kinaiyahan will have two choke points which will be in Butuan and Surigao cities.

The Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte contingents, including representatives of Lumads (indigenous peoples) will converge in Butuan City at around 7 o’clock in the morning and will proceed for a “recorida” around the “Timber City” of the region before proceeding to Surigao City.

The Surigao del Sur contingent will then meet up with them at Bad-as, Placer before proceeding to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office for a picket. (Vanessa Almedda/MindaNews)