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The Save Palawan Movement, a multi-sectoral coalition of concerned environmental, legal religious and other civic groups launched the “No to Mining in Palawan” signature campaign last Thursday (February 3) in the hope of putting an end to mining activities in Palawan, known as the Philippines’ Last Ecological Frontier.
The campaign aims to raise ten million signatures to deliver a strong message to the Philippine and Palawan governments so that they would finally say no to mining in Palawan and help protect one of the Philippines’ last remaining treasures.
Present at the launch were ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Gina Lopez, Palawan Mayor Edward Hagedorn, “running priest” Fr. Robert Reyes, environment leaders Clemente Bautista (Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment) and Atty. Jose Andres Canivel (Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation), and Rhodora Angela Ferrer of the Catholica Educational Association of the Philippines.
They were joined by Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas (WWF-Philippines) president Jose Lorenzo Tan, country director for Conservation International Romy Trono, Atty. Gerthie Mayo-Anda of Environmental Legal Asistance Center, executive director of Palawan NGO Network Inc. Atty Bobby Chan, Tanggol Kalikasan executive director Atty. Rolly Bisquera–Sheen, Alyansa Tigil Mina national coordinator Jaybee Garganera and various leaders of the environmental movement in the country.
The ten million signature campaign came about after the killing of Dr. Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega, a civic leader who championed the protection of Palawan’s rich biodiversity and an outspoken critic of mining operations in Palawan.