Midsalip

| December 14, 2010 Print

Ask Ambassador Willy C.Gaa and President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to call for a stop to mining in Midsalip.

BACKGROUND

Currently, the local Catholic Church and hundreds of local parishioners are working to address the volatile situation in Midsalip, a region in the southern Philippines. A company called Geotechniques and Mining, Inc. (GAMI) has brought in mining exploration equipment to a mine in the Mt. Sugarloaf area of Zamboanga del Sur, in the Diocese of Pagadian. Over 500 Catholic parishioners in the area have been holding a peaceful picket of the mining exploration for over a month.

The Mt. Sugarloaf Complex (also known as Mt. Mediau) is one of the 34 terrestrial and inland waterways that have been designated by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources as a priority conservation area and as having very high importance to the biodiversity of the Philippines. In the 1960’s until the 1980’s, large scale logging did much damage to the forest cover in Midsalip. The local people brought an end to illegal logging and since then, many of the Subaanen people, native to the area, have worked to protect their ecosystem. However since 2005, the area has been carved up by mining companies. Poverty and national debt had pushed then-president, Gloria Maccapagal Arroyo to promote mining as a national priority. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) have joined hands with corrupt politicians, mining companies, and speculators to ensure the approval of mining applications. As a result, the voices of those who oppose the mining and work to protect this beautiful peninsula are constantly being ignored.

Mining in Midsalip will have devastating effects on the native ecosystem and the people who rely on its natural environment for survival. The land and the seas will be seriously impacted and the destruction of the forest will have an accelerating effect on the impacts of climate change.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please write to the Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States of America, Willy C. Gaa and to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the current president of the Philippines and ask them to intervene and call for a stop to the proposed mining in Midsalip.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Michelle Knight – mmknight@columban.org; 301-565-4547

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WHEN YOU WRITE…
Use our sample letter to:

Send a letter to the Ambassador via the CCAO Office:

Fax: 301-565-4549

Or by mail:
1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 405
Silver Spring, MD 20910

The Columban Center will personally deliver the letters to the Embassy.

Ambassador Willy C. Gaa
Embassy of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

Date

Dear Ambassador Gaa,

I write to you as a citizen of the world and a person of faith, greatly concerned with the volatile situation currently taking place in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur where over 500 community members in the area have been holding a peaceful picket of mining exploration for months. The men and women who have been working alongside the local Catholic Church and hundreds of local community members have inspired me to join their struggle against the mining companies in the region in any way that I can. My faith teaches me about the importance of protecting God’s creation and maintaining the natural biodiversity.   The natural resources in the area must be protected for the well-being of the people of Midsalip.

After a period of large scale logging from the 1960s until the 1980s, the local people brought an end to the illegal logging in the region. Since 2005, the logging has continued. Mining in Midsalip will have devastating effects on the native ecosystem and the people who rely on its natural environment for their survival. The land and the seas will be seriously impacted and the destruction of the forest will have an accelerating effect on the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the region is a Key Diversity Area (KBA#155) and should not be open to mining.

I urge you to take a stand against these companies, respond to this volatile situation, and protect the environment in the Midsalip region.

Sincerely,

____________

Send the letter to the President to the address below:

President Benigno Aquino III
President of the Philippines

Malacañang Palace
Manila
PHILIPPINES

The letter can also be faxed to: +63 (2) 736-1010 [dialed as 011 63 2 7361010]

Date

Dear President Aquino,

I write to you as a citizen of the world and a person of faith, greatly concerned with the volatile situation currently taking place in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur where over 500 community members in the area have been holding a peaceful picket of mining exploration for months. The men and women who have been working alongside the local Catholic Church and hundreds of local community members have inspired me to join their struggle against the mining companies in the region in any way that I can. My faith teaches me about the importance of protecting God’s creation and maintaining the natural biodiversity.   The natural resources in the area must be protected for the well-being of the people of Midsalip.

After a period of large scale logging from the 1960s until the 1980s, the local people brought an end to the illegal logging in the region. Since 2005, the logging has continued. Mining in Midsalip will have devastating effects on the native ecosystem and the people who rely on its natural environment for their survival. The land and the seas will be seriously impacted and the destruction of the forest will have an accelerating effect on the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the region is a Key Diversity Area (KBA#155) and should not be open to mining.

I urge you to take a stand against these companies, respond to this volatile situation, and protect the environment in the Midsalip region.

Sincerely,

____________

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