End of Eden? Mining push in Philippines ends isolation of islanders – by Ralph Jennings (Christian Science Monitor – March 14, 2016)


PUERTO GALERA, PHILIPPINES — A path cut through a forest hillside outside this resort town is no ordinary road. It will soon connect the modern world to an indigenous tribal group that until now has lived mostly in pre-modern isolation.

Does this road represent the end of a lifestyle and of farming and food sources that villagers have relied on for millennia?

Ask Gabayno Uybad. He grew up in a typical indigenous Mangyan village on Mindoro Island, far from the developed coastline. The community, where people farm both for themselves and the collective, lies seven miles from a modern highway.

Mr. Uybad, a Roman Catholic priest, shares the concern of many tribals here that the road could enable large-scale commercial mining on an island that is rich in copper, iron, and nickel. Recent studies have shown significant ore deposits, and just last year a major mining project got approved here.

Roads for miners would end the prized seclusion of many Mangyan people who populate a network of isolated villages and farms here in the center of the island – and take away the soil and water they need to survive.

“The activities are quite strange for us,” says Uybad, a Mangyan who has a master’s degree from a college near Manila. “In open-pit mining, they strike the whole mountain and in some cases the water might be polluted. We care for the environment and produce food, not necessarily for money, but for our consumption.”

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2016/0314/End-of-Eden-Mining-push-in-Philippines-ends-isolation-of-islanders

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