Passing on the value of social and moral responsibility to DWCL graduating students

DWCL Students Forum on Mining

Words and photos by Donna Rabang Peta

Graduating students of Divine Word College of Laoag (DWCL) gathered at the St. Freinademetz Theater on March 16, 2015 for the “Students Forum on Mining” to commemorate the 20 years of the Philippine Mining Act 1995, enacted during the presidency of Fidel Valdez Ramos.

Born and raised in a mining community area in Ucab, Itogon, Benguet, and a former small-scale miner, Mr. Fernando “Ampy” Mangili, now a member convenor of AMIANAN SALAKNIBAN, or the Northern Luzon Mine Watch and Human Rights Network, served as guest speaker.

Manong Ampy and his katribu in Itogon, Benguet have been fighting for more than 100 years to protect their environment. In his testimony, Manong Ampy said, “Ang ganda ng Ilocos Norte ikumpara nyo sa lugar namin na may mining. Ang pangit ng lugar namin, nasira ang aming mga bundok, walang nang tubig at kahit nga ang munisipyo namin ay ang pangit kung saan ay dito nagmina ng mahigit 100 years.”

Manong Ampy added, “In three years alone, masisira na ang kalikasan dahil highly mechanized na ang sistema at operasyon ng pagmimina. Wala pang kahit anong mining company, from Mindanao to Aparri, who rehabilitated the river system at mga bundok na nasira nila. One question to these mining companies is their identity claiming that they are responsible and friendly, and yet they never returned back to the communities na sinira nila.”

At the end of his speech, he encouraged the students of DWCL to support their advocacy, struggle to protect the environment and to defend the future.

The challenge of Manong Ampy was concurred by Ms. Romana L. Bitancor, Vice President for Academic Affairs of DWCL.  She said, “Kayo dapat ang manguna na may concern sa environment dahil you are going out after you graduate. Professional kayon ton… you have the credibility to talk about it. You should treasure what you should have learned in this gathering and tell the world when you go outside the school. Being concerned of the environment is a social responsibility”

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

Say No To Mining in Adams!


Adams (east of world famous Pagudpud), home to the 11, 794.19-hectare Proposed Northern Ilocos Norte Natural Park of the region’s remaining intact old-growth forests, the 3,250-hectare Adams Wildlife Critical Habitat of an estimate of more than 2,000 recognized plant species, 76 identified species of endemic birds on the threatened list, Philippine deers and warty pigs, civet cats, long-tailed monkeys and rare amphibians, and a portion of the Kalbario-Patapat Natural Park, is subject to greed and power.

Being a citizen of Ilocos, it is a moral obligation to protect this living museum of biodiversity for future generations to enjoy.

I’ll say it again, there is no such thing as responsible mining.  We’ve heard enough of the ill effects of large scale mining. We don’t need another disaster. Please support NO TO MINING IN ADAMS and spread the word.

I’ve said all there is to say about this transcendent town that changed my life overnight. I owe this blog to Adams.

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

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