In the wake of 500 years of Magellan landing
TACLOBAN CITY-The parish priest of Homonhon Island, off Guiuan town, Eastern Samar, has called on officials to include President Rodrigo Duterte to stop ‘desecrating the island.’
Fr. Christian Ofilan, parish priest of the St. John the Baptist Parish, was referring to the mining operations in Homonhon, the site of the landings of Portuguese-born Ferdinand Magellan 500 years ago which the country is commemorating.
“I would like to use my small voice to call on our government leaders, from the mayor of Guiuan to President Rodrigo Duterte, please stop desecrating our island, ”Ofilan said during his homily on Wednesday(March 17) as part of the Quincentennial celebration of the coming of Magellan and his fleet to the island.
On Thursday (March 18), President Duterte graced the event by leading in the unveiling of the quincentennial marker of the world’s first circumnavigation led by Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano on March 17,1521 located in Barangay Ngolos.
According to Fr. Ofilan, considering that Homonhon is where the first missionaries in the country has arrived 500 years ago, it is just right that its ‘blessedness and sacredness’ should be preserved and not desecrated.
“Our ancestors consider our island as sacred and blessed. But what we’ve done after 500 years? We have desecrated it.We lost its sacredness because of our irresponsibilities,” he said.
The island is rich with mineral deposits like nickel and chromite.
While at present, there is no active mining operations on the island, several mining companies have located in Homonhon.
Among these mining companies is Techiron Resources whose move to remove its ‘stockpile’ of chromite April of last year sparked protest from the villagers.
(JOEY A. GABIETA)