Statement during the Anti-Mining Solidarity Week (22-26 August 2016) It’s time to end the destructi
On August 23-25, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) is again hosting an International Mining Conference and Exhibit in Manila with the theme “Realizing the Potentials of the Mining Industry in a New Regime”, anticipating that the Duterte Administration is going to be put in place policies in favor of their agenda. This conference and exhibit is an annual event where the Philippines is packaged as a mining capital with mineral wealth ready for extraction.
On the other end of this pro-mining event is the strong voice of mining-affected communities and their support groups calling for an end to the destructive mining regime. And so today, we start our Anti-Mining Solidarity Week of Actions with the call: Wakasan ang pagdurusa, Hustisya (para) sa mga biktima ng mapanirang pagmimina! (End the suffering, justice for all victims of destructive mining!). We urge the current administration to work towards progressive policies that will safeguard the people’s rights and well-being. President Duterte himself said that the mining and logging industries are sunset industries that he will gradually end, while the secretary for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Sec. Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez found the current mining law (RA7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995) unfair—skewed towards the mining companies, and not towards the welfare and benefit of people.
For the past two decades, RA7942 led to the rape and plunder of our lands and mineral wealth. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Executive 270-A, a national policy agenda revitalizing the mining industry, aggravated this. Both policies focus on the exploitation of our mineral reserves. However instead of providing more benefits, it does more harm to our poverty situation and fiscal problems. The industry sought to boost our economy only contributes less than 1% (0.6-0.7%) in our GDP and less than 1% (0.6%) in job creation, while destroying mountains, watershed areas, protected areas, rivers and seas, agricultural lands and ancestral domains, and affecting other more sustainable industries. RA7942 perpetuated injustices and sufferings to mining-affected communities. It led to the destruction of the environment and made communities more prone disasters; it led to social conflicts and human rights violations.
Our solution is the repeal of RA7942 and the enactment of the Philippine Mineral Resources Act also known as the Alternative Minerals Management Bill. The bill presents a sustainable, need-based, rational minerals management policy framework geared towards the effective utilization of our mineral resources and ensures equitable sharing of benefits for the state, IPs and local communities. The AMMB addresses the flaws of the current mining law and is consistent in promoting environmental and human rights, and sustainable development. We urge the President to certify this bill as urgent and to Congress to prioritize its enactment.
We assert that “responsible mining” is a myth. The reality is that the mining industry in general and the COMP, in particular, is driven by nothing more than greed. The different cases of the sites of struggles show how the extraction of mineral resources from our lands has only brought about more poverty, tragedies and injustices. The injustice must end and mining companies must be held accountable for their actions and inactions. Mining must be stopped NOW!
It’s time to end the current destructive mining regime! End the greed and injustices towards the people. Enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill!
For more information contact: Jaybee Garganera, firstname.lastname@example.org / 0917-5498218;
Farah Sevilla, email@example.com / 0923.5122374