My dear friends,
On January 24 a very dear friend and colleague Gerry Ortega was shot in the head dead. I was just with him that weekend - and a few minutes before he died what we were discussing over the phone was an anti-mining campaign in Palawan - given that on December two huge mining applications were railroaded - and they were to be near protected sites.
Gerry is dead but we will not let go of his dreams - and mine - and probably yours too.
Palawan has 17 key bio diversity sites - which means it is part of the 70% bio diversity sites which are essential for sustaining life in the planet. It has 2 world heritage sites, 8 protected sites. Yet if you see Palawan on the map you will note that it is a very thin island - which is 82% mountain. It means that if the forest gets denuded and the minerals excavated - the tailings seep directly into the sea affecting the coral reefs. The top soil is thin - and the island eco system is fragile.
Mining is not the way to go for Palawan. I have five eco tourism sites wherein the communities involved can now send their children to school, can dream bigger dreams. Mayor hagedorn in Puerto Princesa has banned mining and logging - and focused on tourism and agriculture. From 2 flights a week, Puerto Princesa now boasts 10 flights a day. His revenues have gone up from several million to several billion.
Mining as an economic path in a magnificent "Last Frontier" is based on a paradigm of economic growth that is myopic and archaic . In this age of climate change and global warming any economic development that does not recognize and revere the web of life should be thrown in the dustbin.
Please please support the ten million signature campaign to Stop Mining in Palawan. The richness of Palawan is the wealth and pride of the country, it is the wealth of the world. Log in to no2mininginpalawan.com .. register your vote and please please send it to thousands others. You can also include your household by downloading the form printing it - and faxing it to 4152227 or you can scan it and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions can be sent to email@example.com.
ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.