The offshore mining in Cebu-Bohol Strait and other parts of the Visayan basin will affect the livelihood of no less than 100,000 small fishermen and 500,000 dependents, and will further exacerbate the problem of food security of 87 million Filipinos.
The offshore mining all over the Visayan Sea will have a devastating impact on fish production in Region VI composed of provinces Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental which account for an average for 350,000 metric tons of fish harvest per year, while Region VII composed of Negros Oriental, Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor account for 205,000 metric tons of fish produced.
Region VIII is made up of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar and Southern Leyte yield an average of 100,000 metric tons of fish per year.
“We believe that stopping NorAsia from destroying our marine resources in the name of corporate super profits, is a tough act to follow, but this is the politically, morally and legally correct way to address the concern of our fisher people and the Filipino public in general,” Pamalakaya said.
Off to Bangkok against offshore mining
Meanwhile environmental activists Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) and Vince Cinches, Executive Director of the Cebu City based Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center (Fidec) will attend an international conference on climate change to bring up the present struggle of the Filipino people against all forms of imperialist plunder in the country.
“We will bring the issue of offshore mining that’s for sure,” Bautista told Bulatlat over the phone. “It is a priority issue and we will relate it to the current talk of the town which is climate change,” the Kalikasan-PNE coordinator said.
For his part, Cinches said he will talk to several international environmental networks to support the Pamalakaya campaign against offshore mining. “We will try to clinch a Bangkok declaration opposing destructive offshore mining in the Philippines. We will pursue this one,” he said. The conference will last for a week beginning July 10.
Prior to the Bangkok Conference on Climate Change, some 268 global activists representing 160 organizations in 30 countries had signed a resolution opposing destructive offshore mining in the Philippines.
The Resolution Opposing Destructive Offshore Mining in the Philippines authored and presented by Pamalakaya was passed at the plenary session of the Third International Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) held in Hong Kong on June 18-20.
Those who approved the anti-offshore mining resolution in the Philippines include social activists from the United States, Canada, Brazil, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Austria, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“The international campaign against offshore mining is on. There’s no turning back. The people of the world are also raging against this extreme act of imperialist plunder,” Pamalakaya added.
The Pamalakaya information department said the global anti-imperialist league also vowed to support the group’s campaign against offshore mining in Cebu-Bohol Strait, a body of water separating the island provinces of Bohol and Cebu, and other oil and gas oil explorations to be conducted in Ragay Gulf in Bicol Region, Antique and Guimaras provinces in Western Visayas, Leyte, Davao del Sur, Surigao del Sur, and Quezon and Mindoro provinces in Southern Tagalog.
Pamalakaya said an international fact finding mission to investigate the impact of offshore mining in Tañon Strait, a protected seascape separating the island provinces of Cebu and Negros, will be conducted in early October this year to assess the impact of offshore oil exploration conducted by Japan Petroleum Exploration Corp. (Japex) during the last three years from 2005 to 2008.
The group said the international fact finding mission will be headed by the Philippines, Japan, Australia and Malaysia. It will include a week long social investigative on fishing areas affected by Japex oil and gas offshore mining activities. Next year, Pamalakaya will organize a national conference on offshore mining in Manila, and will invite several anti-mining groups and personalities in the US, Europe and Asia for inputs and possible exposure to offshore mining areas.
“The world is watching President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her clients– the oil and gas corporations and it wants to pursue accountability against the President and these offshore mining giants,” Pamalakaya said.(Bulatlat.com)