Alyansa Tigil Mina’s Response to Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Open Letter cum Paid Ad publish
First of all, we believe that the paid advertisement by COMP was a rude move to discredit the mining audit reports completed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Second, we would like to clarify the misconception regarding our alliance. AlyansaTigil Mina (ATM), formed in 2005, is a coalition of mining-affected communities and their support groups challenging the promotion of destructive large-scale mining in the Philippines. We work to protect communities and natural resources but we are not anti-mining per se. Our aim is to shift the export-oriented and profit-driven mining policy to sustainable minerals management towards national industrialization.
However, we support the DENR leadership in its efforts to implement current mining safeguards and to address the many environmental issues in the country and in reforming the organization to do away with corrupt officials.
Third, civil society organization (CSO) representation in the audit is in the DENR’s Memorandum and should be allowed for by the government as part of our democratic processes. ATM believes that representation of the community and CSOs in the mining audit is a necessary ingredient for the legitimacy and credibility of the audit process. Mining, as a public activity, should not be exclusively discussed by “experts only” but by all affected parties.
The CoMP conclusion that CSO representatives in the audit teams “can claim no relevant expertise” and “have a clear conflict of interest and could not have contributed to a fair and impartial mine audit” reflect the elitist and snobbish character of CoMP and its members. One is left wondering why the CoMPisso afraid to ensure that a participatory manner of the audit is done, if they are completely confident that they are implementing responsible mining.
We reject the COMP’s call to make the audit activities exclusive to the government and experts. This is contrary to our call for transparency and accountability—which are essential principles of democracy.
Fourth, suspensions prior to the mining audit were a result of investigations by the DENR. If the COMP or mining companies have problems with the suspension, we believe that approaching the right offices to address their concerns should be their move as opposed to a paid ad ranting.
Fifth, we want to point out factual errors in the CoMP statement. While we are indeed supported by Christian Aid, we are not being funded by Mining Watch-Canada and Oxfam Australia although we share the same rights-based goals and methodologies. We vehemently reject the claim of CoMP that ATM’s activities are at the behest of our funders and that our participation in the mine audits are “meant to raise more funds from their donors”. This observation reveal the narrow understanding of CoMP of how social development organizations work.
ATM independently sets its mandates and plans, and then our funders provide support to us. Not the other way around. While we certainly need additional resources to sustain our engagement with DENR, we have not asked our donors for additional funding to specifically engage the mining audit.
Lastly, we reiterate our position that in the present context of the country, responsible mining is a myth! Mining that destroys the environment and community lives without the peoples’ consent can never be responsible. If most mining projects and activities at present are irresponsible, AlyansaTigil Mina is in a position to call for a moratorium on all mining operations in the country, until the government, industry players and stakeholders agree on a credible rational mining framework and policy is put in place.
This has been ATM’s advocacy since it was convened and at present is not far from the position of the government. President Duterte himself said that mining and logging are sunset industries that he will gradually end, and that he can forego the industry’s Php40-B contribution if it destroys the environment and do not follow strict government standards.
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator 09175498218 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Karl Isaac Santos, ATM Media and Communications Officer 09173011934 – email@example.com