For me, the issue with the historical Homonhon existed even before the author was born. The Philippines’ mining issue had always pitted the hungry masses against the principled few, at least fifty years ago. One politician wants to improve the future, and another wants to siphon off large sums of money from the Earth’s bounty without having to work hard for them. Homonhon Island Mining is a controversial issue that involves the extraction of nickel and chromite from the historic island of Homonhon in Eastern Samar, Philippines.
According to the news search results from the web , some of the problems, conditions and realities of the mining operations are:
• The mining activities have caused environmental degradation, such as soil erosion, deforestation, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
• The mining companies have paid P182.6 million in excise tax to the national government in 2023, but the local governments hosting the mining operations have not received any share of the revenue.
• The mining operations have provided employment opportunities for about 2,300 local residents, mostly from the mainland Guiuan town.
• The mining operations have also contributed to the social development projects of the local government, such as infrastructure, health, education, and livelihood programs.
The environment on Homonhon Island is described as “bald” and “scarred” by some environmental advocates, who have staged protests and prayer rallies to oppose the mining activities and to call for the preservation of the island’s natural and historical heritage. The island is where the Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan first landed in 1521, which marked the beginning of the Christianization of the Philippines.
Although these are clear and evident, a sizable portion of the population feels that mining is essential, that it can be allowed to destroy the environment, and that in spite of this everything will just be going about business as usual status quo.
This sentiment of indifference, (waray pakialam!) is the real problem , the real enemy of sustainability of conservation, and that it is the killer mindset that may leave our Island of Homonhon, our Island of Samar and the country weak and ravaged hardly capable of sustaining life.
Earth is our home, we are responsible for it. Homonhon is part of our Earth. We only have one home and that is Earth.
I challenge the politicians and mining endorsers, to hold their bagful of money, but hold their breath while doing so ! They would realize money is useless without air , without food…