Friday, 14 October 2011

Gina Lopez wants No Go Zones in mining

"In this country, for some reason, what moves and makes it happen is People Power" Gina Lopez declared at the 20th anniversary of Maalala Mo Kaya's  (MMK) premiere of "Palawan".  Gina is referring to the 10-million signature campaign that she has launched in February this year that would convince the Philippine government to finally say no to mining in Palawan.

Gina claimed that she is not against the mining industry per se and instead wants to set up No Go Zones. Meaning, there are key biodiversity areas in the country that shouldn't and must never be mined. She cited specifically the islands.

The islands are defined as [quoting Gina] "where you have a mountain, forest, coral reefs, mangroves and farmlands. It's not large tracts of land like Canada or Australia where, if you have an accident when you mine, no one will suffer. In islands like Palawan, Rapu Rapu, Manikanin and all these other islands.. if you have one accident, it goes to the ricefields [destroys farmlands], goes to the sea and kills the coral reef .. what we want is to have certain areas in the country as No Go Zones, please don't mine there because tourism and agriculture [option] is much better. The way it is now, you can mine everywhere."

The No2MininginPalawan Movement is a multi-sectoral alliance of different concerned civic groups to raise awareness and to stop current and upcoming mining activities in Palawan and in other key biodiversity areas in the Philippines.

Todate, the  campaign has acquired over 2 million signatures and has 8 million to go.  She urged everyone "if each and everyone here takes it on and realizes deep in your heart like Bogs [referring to the MMK episode], what future do we give our kids? Do we have to travel overseas to experience nature? Why can't we protect what we have here? So mining I feel is a real threat , they have a track record of suffering and destruction and in the meantime, we have economic alternatives that show there is another way."

Palawan directed by Brillante Mendoza

"Palawan" is the first television project of 2009 Cannes Film Festival best director awardee Brillante Mendoza. The story is about Bogs Villanueva, a mother who fought her way to stop nickel mining in her hometown in Calatigas, Narra, Palawan and in the process, lost her sight and almost lost her family. As of this writing, the government has stopped the nickel mining in Calatigas.

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