Residents living near the Palawan Quicksilver Mines Inc. (PQMI) site in Barangay Sta. Lourdes should relocate as soon as possible to avoid health risks, according to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO).
City ENRO chief Atty. Carlo Gomez stated that the mine site is dangerous at the present time and will continue to be a source of risk due to the fact that it has not been completely shut down.
“We know PQMI is still bringing disaster up to this time. The mine is still there. Hindi pa totally closed pero may mga community pa rin na nakatira sa paligid,” he said.
Gomez said that the Department of Agrarian Reform has protected the community by issuing a Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) despite the area being a timberland and the residents potentially being contaminated by the mine site.
He said the residents are relying on this CLOA to argue that they should not be required to move out of the PQMI area.
“Unfortunately, ang mga nakatira dito ay may protection ng agrarian reform kasi binigyan sila ng CLOA over the timberland. We have called the attention of different agencies kasi yon ang ginagamit nila kaya ayaw nilang umalis sa area,” he said.
“That’s already an issue in the sense na timberland yan bakit nagkaroon ng CLOA? That matter should be addressed by two agencies, DAR and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), “Gomez said.
On the part of the city government, Gomez believes that it is their responsibility to get the community out of imminent danger.
“Sa amin naman kasi, the city government through the mayor, may responsibility under the principle of parens patriae, father of the land, should take responsibility on that na kahit may protection ng CLOA ang mga nakatira ay so what?” Gomez said
“Ang suggestion namin for them to be relocated, may relocation site and livelihood. Then this posibility ay both responsibility of national and local government,” he added