COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 932          Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                   03 June 2017

  1. COTABATO COAL PROJECT BY DAGUMA AGRO-MINERALS, INC. (DAMI)
  • Area applied for development and production with approved ECC: 2, 000 hectares.
  • Annual extraction rate with approved ECC: 3M metric tonnes.
  • Method: open surface
  • Location: Sitio El Dolog, El Topok, Polosubong, Tawan-dagat and Sigawit, Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

Observations:

  • The area is covered by Proclamation 2455 issued in 1985 which declared it as a PROTECTED area.
  • Also covered by Proclamation 241 issued in 2000 which established the Kabulnan Watershed Forest Reserve.
  • ECC was issued in 2009!
  • 2010 South Cotabato Environmental Code passed.
  • Lack of FREE, PRIOR AND INFORMED CONSENT of the IPs in Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu.
  • 1,295 IPs will be displaced within the ancestral domain area (as of 2014) not counting the settlers.
  • 1,096 households will be affected, including non-IPs.
  • Danger: Stockpile of coal is combustible. Fire hazard. IPs worried, fearful.

The Dangers of the proposed Coal Mine in Lake Sebu.

  1. Lake Sebu, the municipality is a NO-GO Zone for mining. Reasons:
  • It is one of 6 municipalities situated within the Allah Valley that is declared as a watershed forest reserve pursuant to Proclamation No. 2455.
  • It is centered on Lake Sebu, the lake, that is one of the country’s most important watersheds as it provides irrigation to Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato and one of the prime eco-tourism destinations of the Lake Sebu Municipality.
  • It is home to the T’boli and Ubo Indigenous Peoples.
  1. The coal mining operation will be highly destructive, bringing about serious man-induced dangers as follows:
  • Massive deforestation. The strip mining operation will clear trees, plants and soil.  Consequently, it will destroy forests and wild life habitats, killing hundreds of endemic and endangered species, and cause rapid run off of water to result in massive flooding of the plains and valleys.
  • Erosion and siltation of water systems, destroying agricultural lands.
  • Water depletion. The groundwater level will be lowered due to the vast quantities needed to be pumped out.  Big amount of water is also required to suppress dust.  Surrounding areas will be drier.  Deeper wells needed for residents.
  • Acid mine drainage. Heavy metals will seep into the water table – polluting drinking water for many years to come.  Aquatic life destroyed.
  • Air pollution – coal dust will be generated. Respiratory disease to people; asphyxia in plants and trees.  In the United states 1,200 people died from black lung disease due to coal dust.  Coal dust causes also hypertension and kidney disease.
  • Climate disruption. Methane is also released.  Methane is 84 times as powerful as carbon dioxide in disrupting climate over a 20-year span.  Coal fires, a very common hazard in coal mining due to the spontaneous combustion of coal, can burn for decades or centuries, releasing fly ash and smoke laden with greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals.
  • Irreparable impacts – strip mining will disturb lands on a vast scale, leaving behind barren lands. It will be a long, difficult task to undo the damages to water supplies, habitats and air quality. Reseeding plants is difficult because mining thoroughly damages the soil. In China, coal mining degraded 3.2 million hectares per 2004 estimate; the total mine watershed restored was only at 10 to 12%.  In Montana, United States, replanting projects were only 20 to 30% successful.

Conclusion:

In general, the tropical nature of the environment in Lake Sebu will never have the carrying capacity to host an extractive undertaking like coal mining. It will be an environmental plunder if coal mining will be allowed in that locality.

The people of South Cotabato and Mindanao will suffer.  The proponent will give temporary gain – but in the long run – extractive industries – especially coal in such a place is against the constitution!

And against GOD: Read Genesis 2: 15.  WE OBEY GOD!  ALSO PS. 49: 16-17 “Do not be afraid when a man grows rich…when he dies he can take nothing with him…” (From Gina Lopez. Researched by Deacon S. Leyso)

Back to: COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop (No. 932 June 03, 2017)

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About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
This entry was posted in DAMI-Dagoma Agro-Minerals, Inc., Environment, Environment Principles, Environment/Ecology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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