Envi Groups observe Earth Day in PH Mining Capital with protest action
Green activists from all over the Philippines stage an Earth Day rally in Butuan City today. Mining-affected communities and their support groups slam mining companies that continue to operate in defiance of the suspension and cancellation orders issued by Environment Secretary Gina Lopez last February.
“ATM decided to hold this rally and its general assembly here in Butuan City to show solidarity to the people of Mindanao especially in CARAGA who are long suffering from the negative effects of mining,” said Fr. Edu Gariguez, CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action Executive Secretary and Alyansa Tigil Mina Chairperson.
With 24 operating metallic mines, CARAGA Region is tagged as the “Mining Capital of the Philippines”.
He also revealed that ATM received reports from Manicani, Eastern Samar, Sta. Cruz, Zambales and Cantilan in Surigao del Sur, where suspended and cancelled mining projects in these areas continue to operate by virtue of an Ore Transfer Permit (OTP) issued to them.
The protesters marched from Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) to Sen. Guingona Park where a program was held. Mining affected communities in Tubay, Agusan del Norte joined the action. They were led by their former Mayor Sadeka Tomaneng.
Citing the predicament of her constituents due to the violations of SRMI Metals which was not included in the suspension and cancellation orders of DENR, she said that they chose to march in the streets of Butuan because justice is still far from the reach of mining-affected communities.
Sadeka also added: “We are calling on President Duterte to take action regarding the call of his fellow people of Mindanao to put a total ban on mining that causes suffering of the people.”
In a press conference last March 2017, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said that it might be good to impose a total mining ban. Along with that, he also expressed his support to Sec. Gina Lopez, re-appointing her as the DENR chief after the Commission on Appointment deferred her confirmation.
The protesters also condemned Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III for acting as spokesperson of the mining companies and for impeding the closure and suspension of erring mining operations.
Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator said, “We don’t have to be intelligent to notice Dominguez’s interests in mining. He is using his position and his personal connection to the President to bend the law. He is clearly standing on the side of the capitalist miners and obstructing the justice that the mining-affected communities deserve.”
Religious groups also joined the Earth Day protest. Fr. Stephen Broncano of the Social Action Center of Butuan said: “The Catholic Church is always on the side of the people. We will not let greed and violence devastate the environment and communities.”
The groups also called on the members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) to confirm the interim appointment of Sec. Lopez to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their civil society support groups which oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, repeal of the 1995 Mining Act, and passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.
For more information:
ATM National Coordinator, Jaybee Garganera- 09175498218, firstname.lastname@example.org
ATM Media and Communication Staff, Karl Isaac Santos – 09173011934, email@example.com