ATM Statement on Confirmation of Roy Cimatu as DENR Secretary

Oct. 4, 2017

Our alliance is not surprised by the decision of the Commission on Appointments to confirm Sec. Cimatu. We are frustrated and disappointed.

The CA wants a DENR secretary who will not make controversial decisions, who will not introduce serious reforms, who will not meaningfully protect the environment. They want someone who will not rock the boat, and who will continue the “business-as-usual” routine in the DENR.

The super-majority in Congress of the Duterte administration has been well-played in this instance. A very stark contrast when former DENR Sec. Gina Lopez was in the same situation facing the powerful commission five months ago. It appears that the rhetoric of Pres. Duterte against destructive and irresponsible mining has been all hot air.

There is less reason to believe that the Duterte administration is serious in bringing real change at the DENR. There is even less reasons to justify any meaningful engagement with the DENR.

We note that Sec. Cimatu has avoided in any request for a meeting or dialogue with environmental groups. We are concerned that Sec. Cimatu has been slow in addressing the environmental crimes in mining-affected areas, such as Nueva Vizcaya, Zambales, Marinduque, Palawan, Masbate, Samar, Surigao del Sur and in South Cotabato.

We are alarmed that Sec. Cimatu will now use his confirmed status to reverse the victories’ and gains of mining-affected communities. We fearfully anticipate the revocation of DENR administrative orders that put a ban on open-pit mining, the cancellation and suspension orders against erring mining companies and the mandatory participation of mining companies to EITI.

This development is agonizing for many environmentalists and human rights defenders.

But we will not be apprehensive. We believe that we will now face a more aggressive mining industry with Cimatu’s confirmation. This situation now demands more assertive and pro-active response from communities and the environmental movement.

We will engage government fruitfully and productively, if the space for engagement is made available to us. Otherwise, we will continue to actively resist and the struggles of thousands of mining-affected families all over the country. #

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator – (0917) 549.82.18 – nc@alyansatigilmina.net

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