Sibuyan Island’s Natural Beauty Under Threat By Gatchalian’s Mining Business

Sibuyan Island, located in Romblon is considered to be the “Galapagos of Asia” because of its natural beauty and biodiversity. With this, there is no question that the island should be prioritized as a protected area, however it seems to be threatened with mining prospects by Atlai Philippines Mining. The company is owned by William Gatchalian who also nicknamed as the “Plastics King.”

There were also recent tensions that were captured on video and shared on social media showing residents barricading trucks going to the port in which its construction was also in question. In an interview with PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago in the Program “Dos Por Dos” with Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja, stated that the Philippine Ports Authority have not given permit for a private port to be built in Sibuyan Island and will not process their request until the issues has been resolved.

Due to the escalation of tensions between Atlai Mining and the residents of Sibuyan Island, The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered Altai Philippines Mining, to stop its operations in Romblon due to lack of permits.

Accoring to Alyansa Tigil Mina, Senador Sherwin Gatchalian and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian is the brother of Kenneth Gatchalian who is allegedly connected to Altai Philippines Mining Corporation.

“Kapatid ni Senator si Kenneth – direct benefactor of Dynamo Atlantic Ltd., according to (PCIJ),” accodring to Alyansa Tigil Mina.

“It acquired Sibuyan Nickel Properties Dev’t Corp., a partner of Altai Philippines Mining Corp. (APMC),” the group stated.

The mining activities is also condemned by the Diocese of Romblon, in which Bishop Narciso Villaver Abellana visited Sibuyan Island residents that heavily protested the mining activities. The diocese then released a statement showing their opposition to exploitative actions of the mining company.

From Rodne Galicha Twitter post @kalikasan101

"We, the lay faithful of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Romblon, invoking our gift to become stewards of Creation, condemn the continuous attempts of Altai Mining Corporation to conduct mining activities on Sibuyan Island,"

As the mining activities are in a temporary halt, the residents, the clergy, and environmental groups continue their efforts to stop the mining activities that will destroy the natural and biological treasures of the island and hope that it will be permanently discontinued.

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