mining in surigao del sur: soil of life, soil of death

mining in surigao del sur: soil of life, soil of death

The source of this malevolent discoloration, say the fishers, are the mines in nearby towns Carrascal and Cantilan, both operated by nickel mining company Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC).

Pag malakas ang ulan, hindi na namin makita ang sanctuary namin. Umaabot dito yung galing sa minahan. Kulay parang kape, yung 3-in-1, said Eustaquio Jojo Juralbar Jr, the president of the fisherfolk organization, ISLAMDUNK.

Juralbar, sitting in a concrete shed the fishers have built on the islet, squinted toward a hill on the mainland. The hill has been taken over by a gaping wound lined by tan soil. Below, trucks and tractors are at work like ants.

Coffee-colored water oozes from the hills wound like blood. On summer days, it doesnt appear to stray far from the mine. But its not hard to imagine it reaching farther, carried by the rains of December to February.

A dive into the marine sanctuary revealed as much. Though there were still colorful fish flitting about, only white skeletal remains of corals were left. Far from looking like a sanctuary, it looked like the remnants of a besieged kingdom.

For this reason, the fishermen oppose the mining activities. Together with other concerned citizens of Cantilan, they filed a complaint against MMDC for environmental harm caused by lack of protective measures in their operations.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 41 in Cantilan has appointed a multi-disciplinary group to conduct a scientific study to determine the environmental and health impacts of the mining, said Emma Hotchkiss, one of the Cantilan residents who filed the complaint against MMDC.

Before the mining, we did not have to keep washing our fish nets. Even after 5 hours, our nets would still be white. Now, even after just 3 hours, our nets are brown like coffee, fisherman Carlos Consigna said in Filipino.

Ang gastos ko noon P15,000 sa isang taniman. Tapos, nung bumaha, hindi na ako nakabawi. Pagka second cropping ko, panibago uling gastos. Hindi na naman ako nakabawi kasi pati yung buhangin galing sa dike pumunta doon. Hindi mo naman makuha yung buhangin, nandoon na. Hindi na ako nakabawi hanggang ngayon, she said.

(I spent P15,000 for one cropping. Then it flooded, I wasnt able to earn it back. In my second cropping, I spent again. I wasnt able to earn it back either because even the sand from the dike went there. You cant just take out the sand. I havent earned anything back until now.)

Mining has made life harder for farmers and fishers alike, the two poorest sectors in Philippine society. Farmers and fishers earn only around P4,700 and P5,300 a month, respectively, according to 2011 data from the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at [email protected]

tandag city history | tourist spots, language and festivals | philippines cities

tandag city history | tourist spots, language and festivals | philippines cities

Before Tandag became a bustling city, it was first inhabited by the Manobos and the Mamanwas who lived along the river banks under the leadership of their chieftain, Suba. When the Spaniards introduced Christianity, Suba and his people were converted. After Legaspis final conquest to the Philippines particularly on 1609, the Spanish government sent missionaries to subdue the hostile natives. One of these missionaries was Fr. dela Vega who erected a stone fort and built a small settlement about a size of a football field enclosed by a stone wall. Out of this settlement rose the town of Tandag, which later on became a center of faith.

By 1650, Tandag became the capital town of Surigao of Caraga, then a district that covered the present provinces of Agusan, the two Surigaos and a part of Davao. As center of faith and capital town, Tandag was fortified with cottas which were erected sometime in the 18th century, within the northern part of the town and near the old cemetary at the western side. These fortifications served as a protection against the attacks of the Moro pirates. However, Tandag still didnt escaped the attacks of these pirates where the town was almost destroyed.

It was through the Republic Act 2786, an act that created Surigao del Sur and whose salient measure made Tandag the capital and seat of the provincial government of Surigao del Sur. On June 23, 2007, Tandag became a city by virtue of RA 9293.

The municipality of Tandag is located between the coordinates of 9.0833 N, 126.2000 E. It is bounded on the North by the municipalities of Cortes and Lanuza, on the West and South by the municipality of Tago, and, on the East by the Pacific Ocean. It consists of twenty-one (21) barangays. Six of which are urban barangays, five are coastal barangays, four are built-up expansion and six are hinterland barangays. The urban barangays comprise 1,594.10 hectares; 3,464.61 hectares for coastal barangays; 2,233.15 hectares for built-up expansion barangays and 4,964.34 hectares for Hinterland barangays.

Farming and fishing are the main economic activity for most of the people in Tandag. Chief farm products are rice, corn, coconut, abaca, and cacao. Livestock and poultry raising are also important sources of income.

Even though Tandag has a smal population, it still offers great investment opportunities in medium-sized commercial complexes, hotels, resorts and amusement parks, food establishments, food processing, fish canning and deboning, clothing and fashion accessories, and demonstration farms.

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