Environment, anti-mining advocates start ‘courtship’ of new DENR chief

Bearing flowers, fruits, seafood, and crafts from what they described as “mining sites of struggles,” environmental and anti-mining groups under the Alyansa Tigil Mina on Monday trooped to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and appealed to the new environmental agency to implement the group’s “First 100 Days Agenda.”

In what appears to be a romantic courtship, they serenaded Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga on the day of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.

“We are here on the day of the SONA to show our openness to work with the new DENR Secretary in order to advance the cause of mining communities against destructive mining,” Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said.

Christel Yparraguire of Baywatch Foundation Inc. pointed out “that many with vested interests in the mining industry will also woo the new DENR Secretary, but we appeal to Secretary Yulo-Loyzaga to take our side as we will stand by her pro-environment and scientific stance that serves to benefit future generations and mining-affected communities, and address climate change.”

Malou Verano from Aroroy, Masbate, and a member of ATM’s Women and Mining Working Group said, “It is time that the mining industry is rationalized and that the ban on open-pit mining be again enforced.”

“Mining destroys our communities and deprives us of our livelihood and sources of food. Also, it causes pollution of our food and waters and severely affects our health. We have had no choice but to endure, eat contaminated food and suffer from tuberculosis and food poisoning,” Verano said.

The group submitted their First 100 Days Agenda to the Office of the DENR Secretary. The agenda includes the revocation of EO 130 or Duterte’s mining policy, as well as the imposition of a ban on open-pit mining.

“Should Secretary Yulo-Loyzaga choose to listen to our demands, she can be assured that we will support her until the end until our agenda are met and implemented. She will have our support against corporate mining interests and those who would try to use her to destroy the environment and communities for the sake of profit,” Garganera said.