The British based multinational mining company’s eyeing the mineral-rich Philippine island of Mindoro is threatening 5,000 Mangyans — Mindoro’s indigenous people — of their six centuries-old farm land along with those housing their forebears’ sacred ancestral burial grounds.
The selfish hankering of the multinational is now giving worrisome days to the island’s simple bamboo shack-dwellers. Lacking electricity, running water and sanitation, they have been living peacefully procuring bananas and other fruits from the jungle-clad uplands.
A farmer of the region, Ramil Baldo sitting in a shack serving as the schoolhouse for his Kisluyan community said,
We don’t ever want to leave this area, especially the burial sites of our forefathers. This land is our ancestral domain where our grandparents and parents lived and died. It’s the only place we know. We’re worried, very worried. This land’s our only livelihood.
Lured by the lucrative minerals and metal-reserves in the region, the mining company Crew Development plans to remove residents from their ancestral lands.
The proposal to strip-mine 37.5 square miles (97.2 sq km) of the pristine island, has forced the threatened Mangyans to bring the people’s plight to the attention of the Westminster MPs.
Ironically, it is for the second time in his life, 34-year-old Ramil Baldo has left the island for the cause of their livelihood and farmlands.
The uncompromising ore-extraction will not only completely devastate the rice fields, but will also spoil the surface and groundwater. After all, money matters! — Never mind, even if it’s at the cost of the environment or man.