Clenched fist held high in protest, vector illustration.

The manifestation of the forum at Catanduanes State University (CatSU) on December 11, 2023, was glaringly evident even in the bright sunlight.

It is clear from the speeches of all the resource persons and invited individuals that they are vehemently opposed to mining on the island. The decision of the Provincial Board to retract their crafted Ordinance was correct because they listened to the sentiments of the Catandunganons who do not want to compromise the wealth bestowed upon us by the Almighty.

Unfortunately, some wonder why the shadow of the SP members, led by Vice Gov. Peter Cua, was not even visible at the forum as well as the governor.

Present at the forum were high-ranking officials of religious groups on the island, led by Bishop Manolo Delos Santos, born-again Christians, and the Muslim community, all expressing strong opposition to mining. Some environmental experts, including the DENR, also explained that there are declared areas on the island totaling approximately 48,000 protected areas. This means that mining is strictly prohibited, as in the towns of Panganiban and Caramoran.

Mayor Cesar Robles also upheld their opposition to mining due to its adverse effects on their security. “Prevention is better than cure,” said CatSU President Patrick Allain Azanza, emphasizing that it is necessary to take steps to prevent endangering the future of the citizens, rather than risking it.

Even the students echoed the sentiments of the speakers, strongly opposing mining due to the current climate issues, anticipating that it could become a gateway to land subsidence, flooding, and many other disasters at any moment.

In summary, none of them spoke in favor of allowing mining on the island due to the potential dangers it poses to the safety of the citizens. They argued that if the land is excavated, it could serve as a gateway to numerous disruptions to obtain what is truly sought, including the alleged gold deposits in the province.

This publication maintains that we still have options before resorting to mining as the primary solution for the people of Catanduanes. For the local government units, let us storm the Malacañang Palace, Senate, House of Representatives, and relevant line agencies to provide a solution to the inhabitants’ problem. You have a mandated function to act in favor of the people of Catanduanes who are suffering from this inconvenience due to a lack of livelihood resources.

We seek solutions that are relevant, dependable, excellent, and not influenced by whims and caprices. Elected officials assumed their roles with the expectation that they are competent enough to solve our basic problems; otherwise, they shouldn’t be in office. If there is a will, there are many ways to solve problems—it merely requires determination and political will to do so.

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