Environment activists call Pres. Duterte to act against destructive mining, storm Malacañang

Press Release

September 5, 2017

Almost 200 environmental advocates stormed the Malacañang compound this afternoon, September 5, 2017, to call upon President Rodrigo Duterte to act against the destructive mining operations in the country.

Alyansa Tigil Mina, together with the mining-affected communities from Zambales and Masbate, conducted the said lightning rally to request that the scheduled dialogue between MGB and mining-affected communities should be done inside the palace.

ATM partners sent a letter to the Office of the President (OP) last August 25, asking for a dialogue, as President Rodrigo Duterte promised to talk to the mining-affected communities together with Former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, during his State of the Nation Address last July 24, 2017.

Upon receiving the letter, the Office of the President referred the groups to the DENR-Mining and Geoscience Bureau.

ATM National Coordinator, Jaybee Garganera, said that the groups were willing to talk with the MGB Director but they are negotiating that the said dialogue should be conducted in the Malacañang palace.

“We have talked many times to the MGB regarding the damages, the abuses, and the destructions caused by the large-scale mining operations before. But based on our experience, they just let us vent our concerns and they will throw promises that would never happen,” said Garganera.

He also noted, “These mining-affected people were willing to talk to the MGB, despite its move to lift the ban on open-pit mining, but they wanted it to happen inside the Malacañang where someone from the Office of the President will be mediating the dialogue.”

The protesters held a short program at the Freedom Park in front of Gate 6 of the palace. A banner was unfurled with the call to the President: “Gawa hindi ngawa! Ipasara ang Mina!”

Pres. Duterte condemned the large-scale mining operations during his SONA, saying that if the miners should be held accountable for the destruction that they have caused, and if they couldn’t comply with the law, they would be taxed to death. But as of the moment, there is no action made by the president.

“We are pleased by the President’s words against the destructive mining, but he has to do something with the problem – Walk the Talk. The environment and these people affected by the businesses of the rich people need concrete actions, not just pronouncements. We demand a moratorium on large-scale mining, uphold the Ban on Open-pit mining, and prioritize the Alternative Minerals Management Bill,” Garganera concluded.

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ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>

Karl Isaac Santos, Media and Communications Officer, (0917) 149.17.17 <media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net>

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