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PIA Press Release
Monday, January 02, 2012

 

SMWD opposes establishment of 'Minahan ng Bayan' near Parang-parang Watershed

by FEAbkilan

SURIGAO CITY, Jan. 2 (PIA) -- The Surigao Metropolitan Water District (SMWD) Board of Directors recently issued a resolution opposing the petition of Nagkahiusang Gagmay’ng Minero - United Small-Scale Miners (NAGAMI) to declare a mineral land covering an area of 20 hectares located at Barangays Mat-I and Mabini of Surigao City into a People’s Small-Scale Mining Area or ‘Minahan ng Bayan' near the Parang-parang Watershed.

In a board resolution dated December 16, 2011, the SMWD, which operates and manages the water system and is tasked to provide efficient, reliable, safe and potable water supply to the entire city, vehemently opposes the petition which was filed by NAGAMI and was published in the local newspaper on December 5-11 for the reason that the proposed tunnel mining and the Parang-parang Watershed is so close and could easily be encroached by tunneling the area within the watershed boundary which contains high grade ore as evidenced in the previous illegal mining activities.

The resolution claimed that part of the applied area is within one kilometer from the watershed. The Parang-parang Watershed, the main source of water supply of the city, has been declared a protected area by virtue of President Proclamation No. 635 signed in August 29, 1990 by former President Corazon C. Aquino.

The resolution also stated that “the remaining forest cover of the watershed is endangered as cutting of trees to be used as timber support for tunnel mining, bunkhouses and other needs using wooden materials continues and could not be abated.”

“That mining process involves chemicals and other hazardous substances which will contaminate the environment and will surely affect the quality of our water,” it stated.

The resolution further said that "all the effluence, run-off mine and mill waste carrying toxic material will eventually find its course to Surigao River – the future water source of the city.”

The board also argued that the city has been experiencing water shortages for long in spite of several reforestation and protection projects implemented in the watershed; thus, they cannot betray their mandate to protect the source of the city’s potable drinking water. (FEAbkilan, PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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