DENR is for the people and environment, not for the miners!

ATM PRESS STATEMENT November 20, 2017

Green groups welcome Pres. Duterte’s announcement that ban on open-pit mining stays

It is already the 11th day of the Manicani Camp outside of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office in Quezon City. Two weeks have passed since the island folks decided to travel here in Manila to personally deliver their grievances and demands to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. Their foremost request: Not to renew the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC). However, Sec. Cimatu is ignoring the camp outside of his office. The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), a coalition of organizations and groups who have decided to collectively challenge the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines, have documented the inhumane and environmentally damaging effects of the mining operation in the small island of Manicani and Homonhon, both in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Upholding the core advocacy of our alliance, ATM committed its support to the campaign of the people of Manicani and of their environment. ATM National Coordinator, Jaybee Garganera, said, “The people of Manicani are desperate to save their small island that is why they have decided not to leave the camp until DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu meets them. These people and their island cannot bear another 25-year of a hell-like mining operation. We are reminding Sec. Cimatu that the constitutional rights of this people are more important than the privileges of the mining corporations.” ATM has also expressed its stand against the recent recommendation of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council to lift the ban on open-pit mining. HMC is using the open-pit method to extract nickel in Manicani and their MPSA covers 1,164 hectares of the 1,165-hectare island. Reacting to an announcement from Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, Garganera said they welcome that news, additing that they respect the consistency and clarity of the position of Pres. Duterte on the ban on open-pit mining. He added that ATM demands the Sec. Cimatu listen and implement the clear instructions from the president. “As the designated alter-ego of Pres. Duterte at the DENR, Sec.Cimatu must meet and have a dialogue with the community leaders from Manicani”. ATM believes that Sec. Cimatu doesn't want to be blamed for lifting the ban as he seeks for the multi-sectoral council to recommend it. They added that this is unbecoming of a leader as the DENR secretary has a mandate and the obligation to ensure that the ‘common good’ and the ‘right to a safe and sound ecology’ are upheld. “Upholding the ban on open-pit mining is a priority policy that must be enforced by the DENR”, Garganera concluded. Garganera also pointed out that, “Since HMC’s MPSA has expired, the process of renewal is not applicable anymore, it must be a new MPSA application. Since it is not 1992 anymore, the DENR and HMC have to consider and follow the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or the R.A. 7942, as well as the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, the Clean Air Act, especially the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS). Manicani Island was declared a Guiuan Protected Seascape and Landscape in 1994 under Proclamation 469, thus such area is protected against destructive human exploitation. That small island is a No-Go Zone for mining.” ATM believes that if HMC acquired a new MPSA, it will be inconsistent with the “responsible mining” track of the mining industry and the government. “This is evidence that the myth of “responsible mining” remains strong, as we don’t have a legal definition of “responsible mining”, there are no parameters to measure it and certainly, letting this company which uses open-pit method in the small island and was suspended because of human rights violations, is clearly contradicting their cheap slogan,” Garganera said. Finally, ATM is calling Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to fulfill his promises resolving the grievances of the mining-affected communities and hold the destructive mining companies accountable for the damages in the Philippine environment and the lives of his people. Now is the perfect time to talk to the mining-affected communities. However, their problem will not be solved just by talking; this critical issue needs concrete action of their president. ### Additional Notes: 1. HMC conducted exploration activities in the island in 1989, and it was only in 1992 that the belatedly company acquired its MPSA and started the mineral extraction. During the company’s full-blast operation, the residents were alarmed about the long-term consequence of the mining operation. 2. Their farmlands were destroyed and converted into roads for the dump trucks, their fishing areas were affected by the siltation and erosion causing reduced catch for the fishermen dust from the mining site causes health problems to the residents, especially to the children, water supply for the four barangays have decreased, etc. 3. These are just some of the effects caused by the extensive mineral extraction in the island of Manicani that drive the island folks to resist the mining operation for decades. The battle to save Manicani from destructive mining had cost lives, when the mining company, military, and the police answered with brutal force to the human barricades and protest. In 2002, Hinatuan Mining Corporation’s MPSA was suspended due to the proven human rights violations and environmental destruction. But still, mining activities did not cease even after their MPSA has expired last October 27, 2017. 4. ALYANSA TIGIL MINA 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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