Servicios en comunicación Intercultural

Philippines: Mining and Oil Palm threaten the Palawan Island

Servindi, December 28, 2010 - In the Philippines, the construction of roads in the forests by the mining companies has caused terrible deforestation and soil erosion that undermine the livelihoods of the indigenous communities and small-scale farmers.

Furthermore, the indigenous fallow land, which are essential for the traditional slash and burn agriculture, as well as other areas used for gathering non-timber forest products, are being converted into oil palm plantations.

This situation has significantly impacted the indigenous and rural communities, who rely on the natural resources and the collection of plant materials for food, housing and medicine.

The palm plantations in some municipalities of the Province of Palawan are already competing with and taking over cultivated areas, which are sustaining local self-sufficiency.

Since 2004, year in which the mining revitalization process began in the Philippines, concessions have been granted to mining companies in the last remaining biodiversity hotspots, including those classified as restricted, which require maximum protection, pursuant to Law.

In light of this situation, the population informed President Benigno Aquino of these circumstances, but has not received a response from the leader thus far.

Indigenous organizations, together with several NGOs, called on the Philippine government to stop the expansion of palm plantations, as well as the construction of mining roads, and to cancel the mining concessions that threaten watersheds, forests and communities.

They have also requested the revocation of Executive Order 270, which allowed this industrial activity in areas of significant ecological value, on which the population relies for its survival.

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Traducción para Servindi de Sylvia Fisher

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