Northwestern University Holds Environmental Forum On Black Sand Mining

Northwestern University BlackSand Mining Forum

Yesterday, with some 300 students, I went to vote at the first ever forum on BLACK SAND MINING at the Northwestern University New Media Hall.

Photo by DEFEND Ilocos and Piso Para sa Kalikasan

Ilocanos protested all forms of mining at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan Hall back in June (here). In spite of Board Member Joel Garcia’s withdrawal of his infamous resolution (here), the threat of black sand mining in the province continues to hang over.

PanelistsDefend Ilocos Exhibit

Representing DEFEND Ilocos, Madonna Rabang Peta was instrumental in bringing an art and photo exhibit by students in Ilocos Sur. Also one of the panelists, she gave a clear-cut presentation of the mining status in the Ilocos Region

Co-guest panelist Arthur Valente of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte says — there should be more follow-ups for fora on environmental threats and degradation, especially for the young minds to ponder on.

Anti-mining advocates, Ilocos Times columnist Steve Barreiro and Patrick Cerezo of the Kabataan party-list served as reactors.

Atty. Joel Garcia assured the attendees that he will not support black sand mining, not now, and in the future, garnering him a courteous applause.

NU Forum on BSM

Says Shermon Cruz, convenor of the black sand mining forum, organized by the KWAGO Society.

The “revealing” discussion on Black Sand Mining this afternoon is bit better in “content and context” than the SP Public Hearing we had a few months back. What was presented were real data, assessments, intensive research, case studies, immersion experiences, personal stories, legal and media views on black sand mining and its real (not potential) impacts. Students, professors and concerned citizens were exposed to real NGO-GO-GA-NGA-PO-Party list-Media talks and dynamics of mining (small and large scale), quarrying, public safety and risks, environmental governance, government enforcement issues, impact to poverty incidence, food security, public safety, resilience, climate change and others. Student questions were direct and reactions were straight to the point.

The AwakeningSharing my journey as a LEAD Movement member.Picture 050Taking out the black in black sand and the verdant in nature.NU Forum and ExhibitBleakEffects of MiningFishwith KWAGO Society
Photos by DEFEND Ilocos, LEAD Movement , Shermon Cruz and BlauEarth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Environment wins in Ilocos Norte

As of late, anti-mining protesters in Ilocos Norte can heave a sigh of relief with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s junking of a resolution that will favor black sand mining in Ilocos Norte. Citing environmental implications at a joint committee hearing in June, eco-warriors hailing from the different sectors in the province protested against the said resolution, rationalizing the position of the government of Ilocos Norte on black sand mining, passed by Board Member Joel Garcia.

The total ban on black sand mining stays.

I have to agree with Defend Ilocos that the collective courage displayed by the people of Ilocos Norte is very commendable and a model for mining-affected communities to follow.

Environment watchdogs in Ilocos Norte vow to fight all forms of mining and environment degradation.

Update: From Board Member Joel Garcia — the resolution rationalizing the position of the government of Ilocos Norte on black sand mining has been withdrawn.

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Black Sand Mining in Ilocos Norte: The people speak

public hearing re: draft provincial resolution - rationalizing the position of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte on black sand mining

I remember vividly. At the school auditorium while in college, I was tasked to represent my department in an extemporaneous speaking contest. The topic was activism taken to the streets. I went to the stage, greeted the audience, and then left the podium. Nothing would come out of my head. Here in Ilocos, peace was ordinary. Here in Ilocos, we were unspeaking. Here in Ilocos, a distinct, strong culture pervaded.

Gone are those days. Seeing firsthand the effects of man-made disasters allowed by people in power has put a point on the voice.

I remember a visit to the beach in Masintoc, Paoay, in 2006. Back then, I didn’t know that black sand mining was what I was witnessing. It looked like a huge construction site in the middle of paradise.

Today, I joined social and environmental activists representing the various sectors in the province. A calm unanimous protest against black sand mining in the province was lobbied at the Sanggunian Session Hall of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol.

A couple of SP members were present to tackle the issue and only two or three also voiced out their support for the environment.

In the course of deliberations, it was reported that sons of a government community development officer were given permits for large-scale mining explo in the towns of Dingras and Marcos. The very same government official vested the authority to serve and protect is supporting mining.

Along with the effort to protect the province from another Haiyan, let it be the start for public officials to “think of land as a community and not a commodity.”

I enjoin you, dear provincemates, to be vigilant.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014