“This kind of project destroys the marine biodiversity, fish stocks, water pollution, air pollution, oil spills, and worse, the deprivation of small artisan fisherfolk from their main sources of livelihood,” Cinches said.
“We condemned DoE for pursuing the project despite evidences gathered during our environmental investigative mission (EIM) that the seismic survey conducted (in) 2005 has resulted in dramatic reduction of fish catch, also it resulted in fish kill, and health problems in the southwestern part of Cebu, particularly Toledo, Pinamungajan, and Aloguinsan,” he added. “Tourism activities such as dolphin watching and diving (in Bais and Cebu) were affected.”
He said that two years after their EIM, various marine species have yet to return for the season and fish catch continues to decline especially in Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan and Vallehermoso.
He slammed EMB for withholding related documents such as EIS, EIA and other bases for granting an ECC to JAPEX despite repeated formal requests from their office.
He however said that a copy of the said ECC which they got from former Environment Secretary Angel Alcala revealed that the DoE and EMB had only done initial environmental examination (IEE) of the impact of the project and not the complete and thorough EIS and EIA. “This is a serious deception and should be penalized,” he said.
In a separate statement, Alcala – who now heads Silliman University’s Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management – said the DoE and EMB’s survey of Tanon Strait “was extremely rapid, lacking in critical data essential for valid and meaningful comparisons in order to determine the impacts of the exploratory drilling.”
“It is clear that DoE and EMB are in cahoots with various environmentally destructive corporations when they decided to push through with seismic surveys last year,” Cinches said. “They are pushing for marine rehabilitation and protection while pursuing offshore mining.”
Cinches reiterated his group’s stand that offshore mining should be banned in the Visayas since the activity “will have great repercussions on marine supply, food security, local economy, and will dislocate thousands of already impoverished fisherfolk.”
Cinches also said that offshore mining “will strengthen the control of foreign monopoly corporations over our resources, since the service contract awarded to JAPEX will allow them 100-percent ownership and control on prospecting, mine development, and extraction.”
Cinches said that they are mobilizing the broadest network possible to resist and halt the JAPEX-DoE oil drilling in Tañon Strait.(Bulatlat.com)