Chinese resume mining at Homonhon Island amid quarantine



April 24 ------ Residents of Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar have protested against the continued chromite ore mining of the Chinese even amid a community quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease. The MW VW Peace, carrying 13 Chinese and four Myanmar nationals, recently docked on the island to load 7,000 metric tons of chromite ore for export to China. The Homonhon Environmental Rescuers Organization decried the arrival of the vessel. “Matagal nang problema namin yung pagmimina dito sa Homonhon, matagal na matagal na iyan, mahigit na sa 30 years,” Daipen Montes, president of the organization, said in a Stand for Truth report on Thursday. “‘Yung sa ngayon, kaya po talaga kami tumututol, hindi na lang po ito issue ng pro-mining at anti-mining people. It’s an issue sa health risk na pwedeng kaharapin ng mga taga-Homonhon doon sa pagdating ng Chinese vessel na iyon,” he explained. The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) suspended the loading of chromite ore on April 7. Four days later, however, the suspension was lifted. Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said this was because the vessel received clearance from the Department of Health (DOH). “We required them to submit all the pertinent documents coming from the DOH so nakapag-furnish naman sila sa amin noon. Nabigyan sila permit ng DOH. Nilagay rin namin sa mineral ore and export permit na hindi puwedeng magkaroon ng contact ‘yung nasa barko saka ‘yung nasa mainland,” he said. “We in the DENR don’t see anything illegal on the operation, there is no special treatment on this operation,” Antiporda added. Source: gmanetwork.com