Bishop voices alarm over ‘escalating’ mining activities in Homonhon

April 11, 2023 - 3:24 PM
A mineral extraction site in Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar in this March 19, 2021 photo. Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone reiterated his call to give the host local government units the excise tax collected from mining operations on the island. (Photo courtesy of Prof. Nestor Castro via Philippine News Agency)

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan has raised alarm over what he described as “escalated” mining operations in the historic island of Homonhon off Guiuan town in Eastern Samar province.

The bishop issued a statement Tuesday, saying they are “very much disturbed” by what is happening in the island, where Christian faith first arrived in the Philippines 502 years ago.

At present, the diocese said there are at least four mining companies operating in Homonhon, which is known for its vast deposits of nickel and chromite.

“Their immediate and negative effects on the communities and the natural environment are very alarming,” Varquez said.

“We call on our government leaders and concerned agencies to take action on this matter,” he said.

The 20-kilometer-long island, which is known for its vast deposits of nickel and chromite, has been grappling with open-pit mining since the early 1990s.

The Diocese of Borongan has been spearheading campaigns to protect the island’s remaining biodiversity.