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Fight to save Biak na Bato won

MANILA, Philippines - A six-year battle to once and for all stop the desecration of the Biak na Bato National Park in San Miguel town in Bulacan has been won by Bulakeños.

This, as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has cancelled the mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) granted to Rosemoor Mining and Development Corp. (RMDC), the only mining operator in the area.

The DENR, in an order dated Dec. 28, cited violations of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 as grounds for the cancellation.

Bulacan Rep. Jonjon Mendoza, who had fought to stop the Rosemoor mining even when he was still governor of the province, said he would immediately coordinate efforts for the rehabilitation of Biak na Bato as soon as possible.

Mendoza also said he would look into the illegal transport of marble from the national park.

The cancellation noted verified complaints by Bulacan residents that the extraction of tearose marble from Biak na Bato was having harmful effects on the environment and natural water resources.

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Water from the Biak na Bato springs flow into the Angat watershed, a major source of the water supply for Metro Manila.

The residents also said roads were being destroyed by the hauling operations of Rosemoor.

They added that there have been killings at the site due to conflicting claims of ownership by different people.

Mendoza and former Bulacan governor Josie de la Cruz vigorously pursued the cancellation of the MPSA before various government agencies way back in 2004, including the Office of the President and the courts.

Mendoza has filed a bill for the reinstatement of the original area of Biak na Bato to 2,117 hectares covering Barangays Sibul and Biak na Bato in San Miguel town and Kalawakan in Doña Remedios Trinidad town.

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