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Eastern Visayas Youth Push for Responsible Mining

BELIEVING that it could spur growth and development in Region 8, students from Eastern Visayas are pushing for responsible mining in the country.

More than 300 students, who came from various elementary and high schools and universities in Eastern Visayas, have signed a manifesto in support for responsible mining.

The manifesto dubbed as "A Call for Responsible Mining" was signed during the Groundbreak 2015 event held last December 16 to 19, 2015.

The event was co-presented by the University of the Philippines Mining Engineering Society (UP MINERS) and the University of the Philippines (UP) Sidlangan, an Eastern Visayas-based regional UP organization. Nickel Asia was one of the major sponsors.

The manifesto stipulates that human progress would be impossible without mining.

“Because of mining, we have roads and bridges and schools and hospitals; we have houses and offices and malls and churches and mosques and synagogues,” the manifesto reads.

It said that even vehicles, home appliances and gadgets, which make life easy, are products of mining.

“We have cars and trains and airplanes and ships and buses and rocketships; we have cellphones and TV sets and radios and washing machines and satellites; we have toilet bowls and bathtubs and escalators and elevators; we have baby strollers and wheelchairs; we have incubators and respirators,” it added.

But mining, the manifesto pointed out, should be done “responsibly to maximize any disturbance to the environment and to maximize the benefits to the community.”

It stated that irresponsible and illegal mining should be suppressed and that responsible mining should be allowed and encouraged throughout the Philippines.

Prior to the signing of manifesto, a series of events took place such as a mining forum held at the UP Tacloban Campus; various competitions at the Leyte Park Convention Center and an outreach in the island of Manicani.

The competitions include poster-making contest EMahe, essay-writing contest Excavate, English and Tagalog extemporaneous speaking contest and a quiz bee or pagalingan.

During the forum, Engineer Nonita Caguioa, Chief Science Research Specialist in the Mine Safety, Environment and Social Development Division of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-Region VIII, and Jose Bayani Baylon, NAC’s Vice President for Corporate Communications talked on different topics concerning mining.

In her talk, Engr. Caguioa provided participants with insights on the stages and technicalities of mining as well as the valuable materials available in Region VIII.

She even pointed out to the participants that “mining is the basis of civilization.”

For his part, Mr. Baylon articulated on the role of mining industry in the development of a country.

The NAC also representative showed pictures of Barangay Rio Tuba as it developed through the years, ending with a picture of the iMac- equipped computer center at the Leonides Virata Memorial School within the Rio Tuba Nickel (RTN) townsite.

When the students gasped audibly upon seeing the computers Baylon teased them: "Inggit kayo?"

He then explained how the use of technology - including teachers' iPads connected to Apple TV in the classrooms -- has advanced the educational experience of students in the Rio Tuba school in a way that many schools even in Metro Manila have yet to offer their own students.

"This is made possible thanks to the benefits that responsible mining is bringing to this formerly remote part of Palawan," said Baylon.

He also showed contrasting aerial pictures of the Pasig River and the Rio Tuba River, with the polluted state of the former and the pristine condition of the latter very visible.

"If you were to be offered P1 million to jump into one of these rivers which will you jump into?" Baylon asked.

To the collective shout of "Rio Tuba River" he responded "Wrong!" and then flashed pictures of crocodiles.

"If you jump into the Pasig River you can get sick but you can then use your P1 million for your hospitalization. If you jump into the Rio Tuba River the crocodiles there will eat you. So you won't enjoy your P1 million but your family will be grateful!" he said.

For the outreach program in Manicani island, members of UP MINERS distributed mining info graphics, school materials and books to the students in the island.

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