Iba, Zambales – The regional chapter of the fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) in Central Luzon on Monday expressed “strong opposition” against the proposed offshore mining off Lingayen Gulf covering 10, 000 of five coastal towns in Pangasinan province.
The “Iron Ore Pangasinan Offshore Magnetite Mining Project” by Iron Ore, Gold, and Vanadium Resources (Phils) Inc. is set to extract at least 5 million tons of magnetite per year for a period of 25 years and renewable for another 25 years under the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) No. 07-2020-IOMR approved on November last year.
In a statement, Bobby Roldan, PAMALAKAYA Central Luzon regional chairperson said that the proposed project would entail “devastating impacts” to the livelihood of not less than 5, 000 small fisherfolk in Pangasinan’s Dagupan City, Binmaley, Lingayen, Labrador, and Sual towns.
“This proposed offshore mining would certainly spell doom to the livelihood of thousands of small fishers who subsist in Lingayen Gulf through various forms of fishing. Not to mention its adverse impact to the livelihood of other coastal residents involved in inland fisheries and salt farms in interior parts,” Roldan warned, saying many fishponds and salt farms interconnected to the gulf are also threatened by the planned magnetite mining.
“Additionally, magnetite mining is indisputably destructive to the marine environment and ecology. The offshore mining would be carried out 2-4 kilometers from the shoreline wherein mangrove forests providing fertile habitats to a wide array of marine species are situated,” the fisherfolk leader added.
PAMALAKAYA Central Luzon vows that “this project would be met with a wide resistance from the affected fisherfolk”. Moreover, the group said it will rally other concerned sectors such as champions of the environment, scientists, church institutions, among others against “this profit-driven and environmentally-destructive undertaking”. ###