mining-bashing in palawan
there is at present a mining-bashing movement in palawan, where a number of mines have started to operate. formerly there was only one: rio tuba nickel. now we have narra nickel, berong nickel, pgmc/citi nickel, and earlier coral bay nickel. more than 400 applications are pending, a few are under process for approval, and one may start soon. a few more are on the exploration stage.
now, the ‘environmentalism’ spirit is so strong in palawan anything that indicates meddling with ‘nature’ is anti-environmentalism. ‘nature’ here means trees and seas and forests and mountains and reefs and corals and more. we have been raised on ‘nature is beautiful as is, in palawan’ and that palawan has much of it we can hardly see beyond the status quo of everything. so we should not cut the trees down and catch the fish and cage the animals nor mow the grass…and certainly not dig the earth for the minerals it contains.
what are the reasons for the mining-bashing? the main ones are:
1. mining is destructive of the biosystem and the biodiversity and the natural state of things, because it will strip open the earth and therefore uproot the trees, kill the insects, drive away the wildlife there, and open the forests to intrusions of people.
2. mining can destroy the whole fabric of life of the indigenous peoples upstairs there by exposing them to the ways and habits of strangers, killing their culture and way of life.
now all these are okay in principle. nobody will contest that. the problem is that it is double standard, filtered, prejudiced, biased, bigoted and what not. it looks only at mining to bash and not other similar actions that produce the same results.
for example, why don’t they bash road-building? it destroys the ecosystem wherever it passes through because roads cut down trees; deprive animals, insects and others of their habitat; do not allow plants to grow back; strip open the mountainside; makes possible the intrusion of people into the area, and disturbs all the anitos and engkantos and kapres there. and when the cement and the tar in the asphalt lose their serviceable life, don’t they leach their chemicals into the earth, and alter the earth’s composition? but why is there no roadmaking-bashing?
also, why isn’t farm-making bashed? ricefields cut down trees; deprive animals and insects and.. ahhh, you know the drill. so why is there no ricefarm-bashing at any time?
then, why are house-building, or even subdivisions, business malls and similar things not bashed? they produce the same effects on nature and man, cutting down trees and plants, depriving animals and insects…et cetera, et cetera ad nauseam. why don’t they bash also their own homes and the supermarkets and the buildings they love to have?
WHY BASH ONLY MINING?
is it because mining grants the indigenous people a measure of financial capability, and also alter the life of the ‘underprivileged’ people in the lowland communities by giving them steady jobs, businesses and employment? and if those things happen they will cease to look up to the non-government organizations who espouse their ’cause’ because these ‘marginal’ people will then learn to fight for themselves and their welfare?
is it because mining ‘benefits only a few people’, conveniently forgetting that there are hundreds of workers and employees there who earn a living, and also support businesses and services that cater to the needs of these employees and workers, such as storeowners, farmers, fishermen, dressmakers, beerhouse girls and the likes of them? and that the bashers are not included in either group, and therefore feel left out, and take their frustration against mining itself, because they cannot do it against any individual, or they will be labelled deviants?
is it because mining is simply the newest subject to focus on by those knee-jerk environmentalists and the ‘spirit’ ? these ‘environmentalists’ went against the island-resorts built in north palawan sometime ago, saying these resorts will destroy the biodiversity and the reefs and the seas of the islands. but now shamefacedly agree they were wrong, because these resorts were the first to conserve and protect their own environments, which the so-called environmentalists did nothing about.
is it because mining pays, and pays big?
your guess is as good as mine.
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