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WV small fishers, crabbers oppose marine mining

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Crab and small fishers in Western Visayas have aired their strong opposition to the continuing threats of mining in upland, marine and coastal areas of the region.

The Panay-Negros-Guimaras Crab Fishers Alliance (PANEG-CA) declared their resistance against such environmental threats during their first ever Regional Council of Leaders (RCOL) meeting and strategic planning on January 18 and 19, at the NEDF Training Center Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

The two day strategic meeting was attended by 27 Regional Council of Leaders (RCOL) and PRRM staff from 11 LGUs in Western Visayas, aimed at finalizing and approve PANEG-CA’s general plans, or program of action (GPOA), and to discuss and approve pending resolutions on vital social and fisheries issues and concerns, especially related to the protection and sustainable development of the Blue Swimming Crabs (BSC) industry.

In a statement, PANEG-CA chairperson Rhylene Toquero emphasized the direct harmful effects of coastal mining to the life of coastal communities, and on the crabbers and small fishers.

While  mining is legally approved by the government for the reason of increased resources, Toquero said  illegal mining, especially coastal marine mining, causes a range of harmful impacts on marine habitats, and to the  life of our crabbers and small fishers that result in more poverty and risk of lives.

Gerry Bedoya, PANEG-CA Business Manager and an officer of the Manapla Federation of Small Fisherfolk Associations (MAFSFA), said marine mining, including black sand mining, poises a serious danger to critical habitats of crabs and fishes and thus, it must be rejected and opposed.

We have already seen the bad effects of coastal and marine mining in many areas of the country, and we call on the government to ensure the protection and sustainable development of the blue swimming crabs, he added.

PRRM-Negros and PANEG-CA also gave their support and solidarity to the struggle of the small fishers and coastal communities in Brgy. Tambaliza, Concepcion to buck mining in the Mt. Pan de Azucar area, and lauded the recent decision of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Sagay City to reject the proposed mining project of Tambuli Mining Corporation in Sagay City.

PANEG-CA held its founding regional congress on December 18 and 19 last year in Bacolod City, with about 186 small fisher and civil society leaders and prominent national and local government officials attending.

The PANEG-CA RCOL resolved and approved five major resolutions, including its strong opposition to  upland and marine mining in Western Visayas, strengthening of FARMCs- Reform and Strengthening and  BSC-NMP Localization, formation of Kasag Patrol and Bantay Kasag, respectively, in the municipal and People’s Organization levels, and the request for sustainable and resilient livelihoods for crabbers and small fishers.*

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