The Concerned Citizens of Sta. Cruz (CCOS), in partnership with Bantay Kita, organized a forum entitled “Ang Kapaligiran, ang Batas at Pagmimina, at ang Kagalingan ng Mamamayan” at Uacon, Candelaria, Zambales last November 22, 2014.
This is in response to the detrimental effects of mining in the province of Zambales, particularly in the communities in Sta. Cruz. Some of the reported cases were denuded forests, toxic chemicals in waterways, and damages in public infrastructure (e.g. roads).
The first half of the forum was a panel discussion on topics concerning mining in the Philippines. The speakers were Val de Guzman from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Max de Mesa of Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Jonal Javier of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Paola Ceriola of Bantay Kita (BK), and Dr. Benito Molino of CCOS.
After the panel discussion, the participants organized themselves and elected officers to form a provincial organization that aims to protect the rights of the members of the community.
Around a hundred participants from the different barangays of Sta. Cruz, Zambales joined the mining forum.