“We jail people for killing one or two persons. How about institutions or people that ravage the environment and cause the death of hundreds or thousands? The floods of Palawan are absolutely due to mining – due to the denudation of forests.”
These were the words of Gerry Ortega, radio broadcaster and environmentalist. He was shot in cold blood on January 24, 2011, in a public market in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, just a few kilometers from his hometown of Aborlan. Doc Gerry Ortega was a passionate crusader for the environment. He understood the evils of mining. He railed against the greed and corruption that allowed mining to proliferate. He explained to people that if mining in Palawan were allowed to continue, there would be a real danger that the island could collapse and sink into the sea. If the Philippines were to lose Palawan, the country would lose a valuable and irreplaceable treasure.
He dedicated his life to protecting the environment. He died working for his cause.
Doc Gerry Ortega had a dream. That dream was to have a Palawan unspoiled by the devastation wrought by mining. It was his dream to put a stop to the destruction of forests, mangroves, and coral reefs. It was his dream for native Palaweños and for all Filipinos to take part in preserving the natural beauty that is Palawan. It was his dream for the preservation of Palawan to become our legacy to the next generation.
Now we could sit still and do nothing. Or we could take the time to understand and consider where we stand on the issue of mining in Palawan.