One of the greatest issues facing the people of Palawan in 2012 is mining. It is a dangerous concept to consider.
It has been going on, in some degree, for many years. It has been growing since the murder of blogger and radio host, Dr. Dr. Gerry Ortega.
Gerry was a man that I met several times and once we sit down at Sabang and talked about environmental issues and how to get job creation in Palawan without mining.
He was a great man and a great voice to the people of Palawan. He loved his island and also gave his life for it.
After his murder, the TV stations in Manila and blogger across the Philippines took to the media outlets about mining. I was part of a group of bloggers that went to southern Palawan to see the mining operations first hand and to pray with the people. It was an amazing time and alot of opening door happened in the process.
The following video was prepared by the TV station and it has been aired many times over the last year across the Philippines. Note: because Palawan is a rural area and most of the villagers are uneducated farmers, the video is the “mother tongue” and not the national language of English.
Mining is an ongoing issue and one that sadly, the government is not interested in addressing. I have reasons I think this is but the main one is the current government is not any less corrupt than the last one. In fact, the current president’s family ties should be enough to lead us to question any real attacks on corruption. He is not against corruption; he is against powerful clans he can not control. We forget way too easy the maiden name of his mother!
What to do?
There needs to be a serious outreach by the large blogging community to raise awareness in Palawan. We need to move our major conferences from Manila and Cebu to Palawan. Yes, it will cost more to go but we can make a vacation out of it. The more bloggers that come to Palawant to meetings, the more the people will have their voices heard.
Secondly, we need the technology tycoons to make Palawan a serious center for data centers. Technology is the answer in Palawan, just like it was in Manila. Because of local economies, a call center is actually cheaper to run in Palawan than Manila.
Of course, we can blog like this about it from time to time.