Dear Secretary General
Re: Cave Protection Petition Assistance / Moral Support Request from Czech Speleological Society
I'm writing to ask if you'll lend your voice to help save a protected cave in the Philippines which is endangered by a quarrying/mining operation.
The name of the cave is Pinagrealan Cave. It is located in Luzon Island (the same island where Manila is), in the Province of Bulacan. At various times in history Pinagrealan Cave was home to several founders of the Philippines including Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro, "Katipunan" Movement (who were attempting to free the Philippines from Spanish rule), General Emilio Aguinaldo and the Imperial Japanese Army (World War II). Besides its historical importance, the site is a wildlife biodiversity location, with several species of endemic and endangered bats, reptiles and birds using the cave as shelter.
The cave is situated under a limestone mountain (now reduced to half its size). This mountain has been subject to stop-quarrying orders for more than 70 years, yet somehow - either through corruption or gross negligence - the quarrying company still continues to operate. The quarrying company is situated only 100-200 feet from the mouth of the cave - and between 30 feet and 100 feet above it. Needless to say the blasting from the open limestone quarry shakes the cave and surrounding residential buildings.
The problem is this:
The Philippines is a poor country where politicians can buy indemnity / favors. Even very minor politicians who have money do this (the quarrying company is owned by a local village elected official - but she has significant money from her quarrying). There's literally a cave law in the Philippines which states you cannot disturb a cave (https://lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2001/ra_9072_2001.html#:~:text=Title%20%2D%20This%20Act%20shall%20be,of%20the%20country's%20natural%20wealth.) But appparently laws don't really matter if you're wealthy.... Various Presidents tried to halt quarrying three times - but like a pheonix, the quarry just renames itself and they start again.
Only public pressure seems to work in a situation like this...
And the quarrying has started again last week - with daily blasting shaking the cave. It's gotten to the point where the vent at the far end of the cave (around 800 meters inside) is now raining limestone dust inside each time blasting occurs.
Thus - I am humbly asking if you'll add your voice by signing our petition to protect the cave: http://www.heritageprotection.org/petition/
If you can also provide us with any advice please let me know. We're desperate to save the cave before the quarry finally destroys it.
As background information I have enclosed:
1. Historical Documents About the Cave
2. Maps / Location of the Cave and Quarry
3. Geologist Reports
4. A summary of Philippine Cave Law - all of which constantly denotes PINAGREALAN as being a protected cave
You can see photos of the cave in the Geologist reports and also just by googling "Pinagrealan Cave".
Any other advice you can give or feedback please please let us know. We're truly desperate for advice and moral support.
Elron Garcia & Agapito Almada
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