Antipolo, Rizal – An indigenous Dumagat-Remontado tribe joined mounting calls to cancel the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSAs) inside the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL) and the Masungi Geopark Project (MGP).
Some 100 leaders and members of the Dumagat-Remontado of Antipolo released a petition on May 19, 2022 asking President Rodrigo Duterte, Department of Environment and Natural Resources OIC Secretary Jim Sampulna, and Rizal Governor Rebecca Ynares to save the Susong Dalaga mountain from quarrying. They said the Susong Dalaga mountain is sacred to their community and is part of their heritage. It is also included in their ancestral domain.
“Nababahala kaming malaman na ang mahal naming bundok ay napapaloob sa dalawang quarry na mayroong MPSA sa pangalan ng Rapid City at Quarry Rock,” the statement said. “Kung ganoon ay maglalaho ang Susong Dalaga dahil miminahin ang bato at papatagin ang bundok. Ang mga ilong at tubig na handog ng Susong Dalaga ay matutuyot,” it added.
Based on the areas covered by the two MPSAs, the quarries would level down about 1,000 hectares of mountains within the protected area including the Susong Dalaga shrine sacred to the indigenous people. A deep scar, 400 meters high, 1,200 meters wide, and 5,000 meters long, on the mountains immediately fronting Marcos Highway, would be created.
The tribe also expressed worry about the floods and landslides that would destroy their homes and farms, and impact even those living in downstream areas.
The floods and landslides that ravaged San Mateo, Rodriguez, Marikina, Cainta, Pasig and other towns and cities during typhoons Ondoy, Rolly, and Ulysses started from these mountains.
Thus, the group urged government officials and the relevant quarry companies to withdraw their plans to quarry Susong Dalaga. They also asked that resorts and other destructive activities be similarly stopped and removed from the MGP and the protected area.
“Kanselahin, patigilin, at paalisin ang mga quarry, resort, at iba pang mapanirang gawain sa Susong Dalaga at karatig-lupa na bahagi ng lupang ninuno at protected area. Igalang ho nating lahat ang Susong Dalaga,” they said.
The same tribe earlier expressed its desire to conserve the area together with partners such as the award-winning Masungi Georeserve Foundation.