The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) was born out of the collective concern of NGOs/POs and other civil society groups against the impending threat of the revitalization of the mining industry in the Philippines.By the middle of 2004, several NGOs and POs have decided to disengage from a series of consultations convened by the DENR regarding the revitalization of the mining industry. Also within this timeframe, civil society representatives in the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) actively blocked the move of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to seek endorsement from the PCSD to have a draft EO be signed by the President, purposively to revitalize the mining industry. Informed with these developments, the Civil Society Counterpart Council for Sustainable Development (CSCCSD), headed by Ms. Elizabeth Roxas of the Environmental Broadcast Circle (EBC) and coordinated by the Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainable Development (MTKISD), convened a series of meetings of environmental groups, IP-support organizations, anti-mining advocates and other NGOs/POs between the period of July-November, 2004.
Among others, these meetings allowed for the exchange of updates, leveling-off on current situations, and the initial exploration of reviving the Bantay-Mina coalition of the late 90s. Specifically, the group was getting worried that the pro-mining machineries (mining industry, media and the government) were gaining grounds and their momentum should be checked. All of these were being considered, in the light of the threats that revived mining operations pose to sustainable development initiatives and the rational protection and utilization of the country’s natural resources. The name Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) was coined, after deciding that there might be some legal considerations if the Bantay-Mina was going to be adopted, since Bantay-Mina was a SEC-registered entity. Also, not all of the members of Bantay-Mina were actively engaging in the current ATM organization and processes.The term “tigil-mina” (stop mining) does not reflect a stand of totally going against mining and minerals extraction. What the “tigil-mina” is referring to is to block this policy regime being adopted by the Arroyo administration, and the DENR, to aggressively promote mining, and using this strategy to allegedly address the fiscal problems and poverty situation of the country. The EO 270-A and the NMAP had outlined 23 priority mining projects, which shall encroach on 60% of already declared protected areas and another 53% of ancestral domains. Not to mention the damaging effects of the projects to several targeted fragile ecologies, such as Rapu-Rapu in Bicol, Manicani/Homonhon in Samar-Leyte, Tampacan in South Cotabato, Nonoc in Surigao del Norte/Surigao Sur and Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte.
In December, 2004, the Supreme Court gave a surprising reversal of its earlier decision, regarding the constitutionality of FTAAs, and several portions of the Mining Act of 1995. Eventually, this ruling paved the way for the aggressive promotion of mining from that point on.By January, 2005, the loose group of ATM members met in Antipolo City to craft an Advocacy-Campaign Plan. It was also at this time, that PhilDHRRA was requested to perform secretariat work for the ATM. Other convenors who hosted ATM includes Legal Rights and Natural Resources (LRC), Haribon and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).