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Water over gold forum held
A forum on Environmental Sustainability and Accountability was held at the Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU) Mini-Theatre in Bayombong on July 20 and was attended by the academe, groups critical of mining in the province, and some PLGU employees headed by Governor Carlos M. Padilla.
The Speakers were John Cavanagh and Robin Broad from Washington, D.C., USA who helped facilitate the visit of Governor Padilla to El Salvador last March as he testified before the Environment and Climate Change Committee just before its historic vote and become the first nation on earth to pass a total legislative ban on metals mining.
Broad is a professor of International Development at the American University in Washington, D.C. She talked on El Salvador becoming the first country to ban metals mining. Cavanagh is the Director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. and discussed on “Water or Gold?: Around the World, Communities and Governments are Stopping Irresponsible Mining for Environmental Reasons.”
Both have been researching the Philippines for four decades and are co-authors of several books, including “Plundering Paradise: The Struggle for the Environment in the Philippines,” and “Development Redefined: How the Market Met its Match.”
“Every industrial mining involves the use of cyanide (to separate the gold from the rock) which poisons our water. Cyanide kills the environment, agriculture and the people,” Cavanagh said.
“Didipio Mine claims that their mine tailings are safe, but a storm might wash these tailings to the river. It is important to know how watershed works, and you will understand why we are pushing water over gold,” Cavanagh added.
Former Governor Ruth Padilla, who also attended the forum, reiterated her continued advocacy for the protection of the environment and stand against mining in the province.
“It is just positive that we are anti-mining but it is more positive that we are pro-environment and pro-water for life. This will draw more possible support from other sectors in the community,” Padilla said.
During the forum, the former Governor had a conversation with former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez over phone and expressed alarm on the possible operation of another big mining company in Runruno, Quezon. The former Secretary assured to continually work with the administration of Governor Padilla in his campaign against mining operation in the province. #bg